Much is happening in the farcical world of naturalism these days, and most of what is happening is unworthy of any further discussion on this website as efforts are being made to publish anthologies of these articles.
For example, there is, as far as I see it, no further need to comment on the effort on the part of Robert Mueller’s handpicked team of political assassins and their allies in the organized crime family of the false opposite of the naturalist “left” who comprise the majority of the members of the United States of America. This is an established fact beyond all question.
There is also no further need to comment upon the war drums that are banging in the Straits of Hormuz as the policy of the United States of America in that region of the world is dictated to President Donald John Trump by his Zionist masters in Jerusalem and encouraged by the president’s Kabbalist daughter, Ivanka Trump Kushner, and her Kabbalist husband, Jared Kushner.
Similarly, there is really no need to discuss some recent speculation about the replacement of Michael Richard Pence as the president’s running mate next year with none other than the chosen daughter as such a move would be seen as a stab-in-the-back to a loyal vice president and as a brazen attempt to create a dynasty that would alarm many voters regardless of the fact that Mrs. Kushner knows less about First and Last Things, true world history, the operation of the government of the United States of America according to the terms of the Constitution than does her father, which means that she knows next-to-nothing other than how to smile and shamelessly flaunt her immodest attire.
Well, I might hear the eight people still remaining as readers of this website, what about the “squad” of socialist renegades who have been causing trouble for the pro-abortion, pro-perversity “Catholic” Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Patricia D’Alesandro Pelosi (D-SSRC, Soviet Socialist Republic of California), and who have been relentless in their attacks upon President Donald John Trump?
No, I have nothing to say about presidential “tweets,” cult-like rallies where the president uses profanity and even blasphemy to the delight of the crowds that have nothing to do with reasoned discourse that I have not said before on this site, and there is little to say about the ignoramuses composing the “squad” except that they are playing their appointed role in the farcical game of false opposites that features one side show after another before some other side show comes into town to agitate the masses into donating money and/or sending out all manner of histrionic “warnings” about their opposite number in the naturalist farce.
However, I do have a few things—just a few, you understand—to say about socialism, which is a term that is so ill-defined in the minds of ill-informed Americans, a group that includes Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-New York), Ilham Omar (D-Minnesota), Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachussets), and Rashida Tlaib (D-Minnesota), that it has come to mean something close to the painless utopianism social and material egalitarianism that helped to start the transcendentalist movement, including a young Orestes Brownson, in the first half of the Nineteenth Century. The facile appeal of this current invocation of the word “socialism” is meant to convey that most social ills—and those deemed responsible for them—will disappear if the right to own private property is restricted or eliminated, wealth redistributed and dissenting voices punished with fines, imprisonment or even execution. This latest, inchoate use of the word “socialism” thus is capable of being understood in different ways, and its “appeal” is that “goodies” will come without cost to the “average” taxpayer.
Socialism, classically defined, describes any number of specific politico-economic systems that reject, to one degree or another, the private ownership of property and places the control of the major means of production in the hands of the state while imposing confiscatory taxation in order to "redistribute" wealth according to the decisions made by the socialist elite.
Today, however, most of the means of production are located in the so-called People’s Republic of China as multinational corporations that have no allegiance to anything other than their bottom-line profit margin, and socialism has become, as mentioned just above, an easy-sounding remedy for inequality, injustice, persecution, suffering and provide the foundation for world peace. The “squad”—and their truly Marxist-Leninist godfather, the nearly seventy-eight year-old Bernard John Sanders—believe that most people, especially the young, have such little knowledge of history and are so uninterested in the details of political economy that they will one day grow used to an “idea” that is but the “flip side” of Judeo-Calvinist capitalism. There will come a day, perhaps not in 2020, when the rotten harvest of public indoctrination programs (public schools and the mass media) that have trained the young in the ways of socialism, statism, globalism, collectivism, utilitarianism, relativism, feminism, positivism, environmentalism, atheism, evolutionism and many other forms of naturalism) will reap a neo-socialist as the president of the United States of America.
As the purpose of this website is to focus on root causes, what I want to do in this commentary is explain in more detail than in the past is to explain that the atavistic, dog-eat-dog capitalism, premised on amorality and profit-making as an end in and of itself, is so focused on temporal prosperity that the natural inequality that exists in the nature of things would be seen inevitably by other naturalists as somehow “unfair” and in need of a remedy. In other words, a world built on a forgetfulness of First and Last Things and with an utter contempt for Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and His true Church will be defined by “what’s in it for me?”, a remedy for the kind of social chaos, disorder, class, section and racial conflicts that will bring the Antichrist himself to the forefront.
As was the case with Karl Marx himself, today’s neo-socialists see the legitimate problems that exist because of multinational corporations headed by titans who exploit their own workers and sell their products, most of which are made in Red China, but they do not understand root problems. They are as incapable of seeing that all problems in the world, bar none, are caused by Original Sin and the Actual Sins of men and can be ameliorated only by the reform of individual lives as is the man they hate, Donald John Trump. Men must fall into an abyss of woe and corruption when they do not believe in the Sacred Divinity of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in His Most Blessed Mother's Virginal and Immaculate Womb by the power of God the Holy Ghost and when they do not have belief in, access to and cooperation with Sanctifying Grace. Economic systems based on the ability of “markets” to regulate themselves according to “invisible” market forces and the “self-interest” of those who have invested capital in various projects are based on the lie that there is an “invisible hand” to guide the markets. Such an “invisible hand” is truly invisible as it does not exist. It is but a figment of the imagination of Adam Smith and other apologists for the "self-regulatory" nature of the "free market. There is no such thing as an "invisible hand,” and the “remedy” proposed by today’s neo-socialists is no remedy at all.
As the late Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn noted in his commencement address, “A World Split Apart,” on June 8, 1978, socialism of any kind leads to a leveling of mankind unto death:
It is almost universally recognized that the West shows all the world a way to successful economic development, even though in the past years it has been strongly disturbed by chaotic inflation. However, many people living in the West are dissatisfied with their own society. They despise it or accuse it of not being up to the level of maturity attained by mankind. A number of such critics turn to socialism, which is a false and dangerous current.
I hope that no one present will suspect me of offering my personal criticism of the Western system to present socialism as an alternative. Having experienced -- Having experienced applied socialism in a country where the alternative has been realized, I certainly will not speak for it. The well-known Soviet mathematician Shafarevich, a member of the Soviet Academy of Science, has written a brilliant book under the title Socialism; it is a profound analysis showing that socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death. Shafarevich's book was published in France -- Shafarevich's book was published in France almost two years ago and so far no one has been found to refute it. It will shortly be published in the United States. (Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart, June 8, 1978, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.)
The “squad” would, of course, refuse to listen to the words of one who had suffered much under a communist regime.
No, they consider themselves to be infallible. Then again, so does the man they hate, Donald John Trump, who has made lots and lots of money in a world that has no place for Christ the King and His true Church.
An Economy Based on Principles of Justice and Catholic Truth
The warring parties of the false opposites of the naturalist “right” and “left” live in the “here and now,” having little, if any, understanding of true history. Indeed, the little that they think they know about history is but a figment of their ideologically charged imaginations and of the ideologically infused programming they have received in “educational” institutions of one sort of another.
Donald John Trump sees all things through the lens of the United States of America, which he believes has been made “great” by material successes, including landing men on the moon fifty years ago this past weekend. He has no understanding that there was a world long before the Judeo-Masonic Declaration of Independence was promulgated on July 4, 1776, which ushered in, as far he sees it, the “greatest epoch” of “liberty” that the world has ever known. Donald John Trump’s love for his country, which is genuine as far as it goes, is not premised on willing the good his nation, which cannot be accomplish as long as liberty is used as a cloak for malice and as long as men such as himself continue to blaspheme wantonly and live licentiously.
The false opposite represented by the “squad” hate the United States of America and want national borders eliminated so that the country can be “transformed” so that the George Soros agenda of globalism, statism, socialism, egalitarianism and elimination of all dissenting voices can be accomplished “democratically.” “Justice” for them is defined by an “economy” that reduces class distinctions, strips men of their private property, places strict controls on what men can do with their own property, wants to eliminate the use and/or restrict privately owned motor vehicles and enforce a strict code of social belief that makes no place for—and indeed makes war upon—Christ the King and His true Church.
It is important for believing Catholics to take a step back from the conflict of the false opposites of the naturalist “left” and “right” and to examine the spirit that animated the Catholics of Christendom as the order and equity that existed in the world eight hundred years ago worked so well that the devil himself had to raise up his legions to destroy it and to replace it with a system of endless competition, envy and violence that characterizes the world in which we live today.
The Catholic spirit of the Middle Ages, that era in which men worked long and hard to build the great cathedrals and churches and shrines and in which men took great pains to provide us with beautiful works of art and composed music that lifted the human soul to Heaven, is far from the anti- Incarnational, naturalistic and semi-Pelagian spirit of Modernity that has been embraced by the lords of the counterfeit church of conciliarism. For far from upholding the immutable teaching of the Catholic Church that has condemned the separation of the Church and State, the conciliar “popes” have endorsed this thesis, which was termed absolutely false by Pope Saint Pius X. Something that is absolutely false and a most pernicious error in 1906 does not become true and good a century later. Truth is immutable because God Himself is immutable.
Social classes lived in harmony with each other. Men were unafraid to defend the cause of Christ the King and His true Church to fight in the Crusades to reclaim the Holy Land and to do battle with the Mohammedans. Chivalry was the hallmark of the Catholic gentleman. And perhaps most importantly, human beings saw in each other the Divine impress, attempting to treat each other as they would Our Lord in the very Flesh.
Father Edward Cahill summarized the political spirit of Christendom very succinctly in The Framework of a Christian State:
Social Life Permeated by the Christian Spirit.–The whole structure of mediaeval society was founded upon Christianity. All the people were Catholic; and ecclesiastical influence was very powerful. Christian principles were inculcated in the current literature, the pulpit, the schools, and the tribunal of Penance; and were taken for granted, even when not faithfully followed, by all classes of society. The laws and their administration, the economic policy of the State, the recognised relations between the different classes, even international politics, were judged by Christian standards. So strong and deep-rooted was public opinion in the mater that it was difficult for individuals to disregard these standards openly.
Kenelm Digby mentions many interesting particulars illustrating the Catholic tone of public life. Thus: “A painting of the Crucifixion was usually to be seen in the great chambers of the parliaments... and over the seats of justice. The great, solemn thirteenth century paintings of sacred subjects on the walls of the great hall of Sienna, in which the grand council of the Republic assembled, are an evidence of the tone of the government.”
In the choice of public functionaries, fidelity and probity were the great qualities insisted on. The injunction contained in one of the Capitularies of Charlemagne gives an idea of the spirit which continued during mediaeval times to dominate public administration.
“Let no count hold his plaids [viz. placita generalia–a kind of local council] unless he be fasting and fed with sense.”
Again, Digby quotes the following term from a mediaeval collection of municipal laws:
“The town sheriff has to visit the round of the walls at night to see that the watch has sufficient clothing. He has to inspect the provisions destined for the poor.”
Political Principles.–The fundamental principle of all mediaeval teaching upon public authority and civic rights was that authority comes from God and is given to the ruler solely for the people’s good; and that the people whose good was to be promoted included all classes equally, rich and poor, high and low, serf, burgher and feudal lord. Further, owing to the ingrained spirit of Christianity in favour of the poor and the weak, the principle was commonly admitted that the humbler classes had the first claim upon the consideration and the solicitude of the ruling powers. Thus John of Salisbury (d. 1180), a typical 12 century political philosopher, writes:
“Then and only then will the health of the commonwealth be sound and flourishing when the higher members devote themselves to the lower; and when similarly the lower members cooperate with the higher so that each and all are as it were members of one another, and each believes his own interest best served by what he knows to be most usefully provided for others.”
Again, the same author writes:
“All things are to be referred to the public good; and whatever is useful to the humbler classes, that is, the multitude should be pursued in all things. . . . Christ will hear the poor when they cry out, and it will be in vain to multiply vows, and to endeavour, as it were, to bribe God by gifts.”
Hence, Henry II of England describes himself (and was described) as the “Defender of the Poor and the Defenceless.”
Vincent Beauvais of the Order of Saint Dominic (d. 1264), who was tutor to the children of St. Louis, writes in much the same strain as John of Salisbury on the duty of government:
“There must be mutual safety for the king and the people; he errs who thinks that the king is safe when nothing is safe from the king.”
Tyrannical Rule Reprobated.–Another fundamental principle strongly insisted upon in the political teaching of that age is that the absolute power is regulated by fundamental laws against which whatever is done is of its own nature null and void. This principle, at variance alike with the pagan principles of absolutism and the modern Liberalist view of the omnipotence of a majority, is frequently emphasized by St. Thomas (d. 1274). Thus he writes:
“One is bound to obey civil rulers, in as far as the order of justice demands. Hence if the power is not held justly, but is rather a usurpation, or if the laws are unjust, the subjects are not bound to obey, unless perchance in order to avoid scandal or danger.”
Again the same writer has:
“Those who defend the common good are not to be called seditious in resisting those who oppose it. . . . The tyrant himself it is that is seditious, who encourages disunion and sedition in the people he rules, in order that hey may more easily retain his control over them. For this is tyranny to aim, namely, at the personal advantage of the ruler to the detriment of the people.”
We find in Dante (d. 1321), whose work contains so faithful a picture of the mediaeval spirit, many echoes of this attitude towards unjust rule. For instance a certain group in the infernal regions are thus referred to:
“Those are the souls of tyrants, who were given To blood and rapine. Here they wail aloud Their merciless wrongs.”
Mediaeval Christian Democracy.–Such doctrines commonly acknowledged, and the structure of a society fashioned under their influence, effectually secured a high degree of genuine democratic rule. Despotism, understood in the sense of irresponsible rule exercised mainly in the interest of the rulers and practically regardless of the people’s rights–the system of government which obtained all over Europe before the rise of Christianity and was reintroduced as a result of the Protestant Revolt–did not generally prevail under the Christian regime of the Middle Ages. This fact, which is strongly asserted by the Catholic apologists, is acknowledged even by historians hostile to the Church. Thus Lecky writes: “The balance of power produced by the numerous corporations which she [viz., the Church] created or sanctioned, the reverence for tradition resulting from her teaching which created a network of unwritten customs with the force of public laws, by the dependence of the civil upon the ecclesiastical power, and the rights of excommunication and deposition [exercised by the ecclesiastical authorities] all combined to lighten the pressure of despotism”. . . .
Hallam, while acknowledging the prevailing spirit of justice of justice and democratic independence in the mediaeval system, does not state that this was due to the influence of Christianity.
Decentralisation of Political Power.–Another very important safeguard against tyranny was the decentralisation of political power. In this the mediaeval state contrasts strongly with the ancient pagan state as well as with the royal absolutism of the 17 and 18 centuries and the centralising tendencies of the modern bureaucracies. The extensive power conferred by royal charter on the city municipalities, which were organised on a democratic basis, and the fundamental laws and privileges of the provinces were all strong safeguards against centralised despotism. So was the guild organisation of the towns, to which Pius XI refers as:
“The highly-developed social life which once flourished in a variety of institutions organically linked with each other.”
On the other hand the very real power of the king, which depended largely upon popular support, acted as a check against the abuses of local barons.
Conclusion.–Hence, although wicked and unprincipled rulers are to be met with even in the period of which we write, their power to injure and oppress was much more limited than that of a modern bureaucracy. Widespread injustice and continued tyranny were scarcely possible; and the oppression and tyranny which did exist here and there were partially counteracted by the resources which religion supplied. (Father Edward Cahill, S.J., The Framework of a Christian State, pp. 30-34.)
Multiple volumes of books would be necessary to treat of each of the glories of Christendom in the Middle Ages as music, art, literature and architecture flourished. Economic systems were in place that assured justice and the practice of usury, so common today, was unthinkable as immoral. There was also an adherence to the just price, distinguishing the era of Christendom from that which exists in our own Protestant-Judeo-Masonic world of unbridled capitalistic individualism and profiteering:
Application in Mediaeval Times.–The mediaeval law of Just Price is another example of the altruistic spirit which permeated the social and economic life of the middle ages. Individuals were not permitted to use freely the property they controlled in ways that might be detrimental to the common good. They were compelled, when the needs of others required it, to place the goods they had to dispose of at the service of the public under equitable conditions. Thus poor and weak were protected against unfair competition, so that all might be secured a fair access to the material goods of the community.
The laws of Just Price had to be observed in wages, buying and selling and every contract of exchange; otherwise the contracted was accounted unjust and invalid in conscience, and the aggrieved party had a claim to restitution. “Whoever,” writes Trithemius, a well-known fifteenth century author, “buys up corn, meat and wine in order to drive up their prices, and amass money at the cost of others, is, according to the laws of the Church, no better than a common criminal. In a well-governed community all arbitrary raising of prices in the case of articles of food and clothing is peremptorily stopped. In times of scarcity merchants who have supplies of such commodities can be compelled to sell them at fair prices; for in every community care should be taken that all the members should be provided for, lest a small number be allowed to grow rich, and revel in luxury to the hurt and prejudice of the many.”
Contract between Christian and Non-Christian Standpoint. In the old Roman law, just as in modern Liberal states, selfishness was assumed to be the dominating motive in every contract; and the fullest liberty was allowed to both parties to decide the price and even to over-reach each other, provided nothing was done that the law regarded as fraud. According to mediaeval teaching on the other hand, the price of a commodity was supposed to be determined by objective value alone; and could not be justly influenced by the special need or ignorance of buyer or seller.
Doctrine of the Just Price.–This doctrine, which was universally accepted in mediaeval times, is thus summarised by St. Thomas:
“It the price exceeds the value of the thing, or if the thing is worth more than the price paid, the equality which justice requires is done away with.”
The seller cannot justly extract a higher price merely on account of the special need the buyer may have of the thing, or the accidental advantage that may accrue to him from it; for in such cases he would be selling what is not his. Hence the criterion of exchange value was something intrinsic to the commodity itself, not merely competition or the higgling of the market. Hence, too, the modern distinction between value in use and value in exchange was recognized to a very limited extent. (Father Edward Cahill, The Framework of a Christian State, pp. 42-44.)
Also practiced during the Middle Ages was the principle of the living wage, that is, an amount that is paid to a worker that would permit him to meet the obligations of his state of life without forcing his wife to leave the home and the care of the children to support the family. While those paid a wage, even though they might have been few in number during Middle Ages as the contemporary “salaried” position became commonplace during the rise of the Industrial Revolution in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries, had a responsibility to live within their means and to, if possible, acquire a bit of savings from their earnings, employers were nevertheless expected to deal justly with their workers so that those who had the greater need (more children, poor health, critical circumstances) received the higher amount. This was such a universally respected principle during the Middle Ages that even Saint Thomas Aquinas and his own teacher, Saint Albert the Great, did not believe that it was necessary to elaborate upon it as it was simply part of the fabric of Christendom.
Similarly, the practice of usury, that is, of lending money by the charging of interest, no less of exorbitant interest rates, was condemned by the Church and rejected universally by the Catholics of Christendom as offends justice, practiced more often than not by Talmudic moneylenders. Pope Leo XIII made advertence to the Church’s condemnation of all forms of rapacious usury in Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891. The 1917 Code of Canon Law, recognized that money itself had become a form of capital and that lenders could charge a rate of interest permitted by the civil law unless that rate is “clearly excessive.” There has been no change of Catholic teaching, only a change in what is considered to be capital.
This is what Pope Leo XIII wrote in Rerurm Novarum, May 15, 1891:
In any case we clearly see, and on this there is general agreement, that some opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustlyon the majority of the working class: for the ancient workingmen's guilds were abolished in the last century, and no other protective organization took their place. Public institutions and the laws set aside the ancient religion. Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself. (Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891.)
This analysis is even more relevant to our times as it was in 1891.
Holy Mother Church recognizes the changes that take place in economic systems even though she may not approve of those changes or believe that they are optimal for the realization of man’s Last End. And thus it is that money, as opposed to land or some other tangible good, has become capital, meaning that there can be a just interest charged on those who lend it. There is thus no contradiction between the Catholic Church’s consistent condemnation of usury and Canon 1543 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law:
“If a commodity which is consumed by its first use (such as money, bread, etc.), be lent on the stipulation that it becomes the property of the borrower, who is bound to return to the lender not the thing itself but its equivalent only, the lender may not receive any payment by reason of the loan itself. In the giving or lending of such a commodity, however, it is not in itself unlawful to make an arrangement for the recovery of interest at the rate allowed by the civil law (de luco legali pacisi) unless that rate is clearly excessive: One may even arrange for a still higher rate of interest, if there be a just title for doing so, in proportion to the amount of the excess.” (Canon 1543, 1917 Code of Canon Law.)
What has changed is the nature of the commercial transaction itself, not the Church’s condemnation of usury, which has been made many times, including the Tenth Session of the Fifth Lateran Council, May 4, 1515, which was presided over by Pope Leo X.
Father Cahill explained the effects of the Church’s prohibition of usury in the Middle Ages, a practice that has been widespread in our own day as our world is governed by principles that are based upon rank profiteering and the exploitation of the weak and impoverished:
The Church’s legislation [on usury] did not, it is true, succeed in completely preventing the practice of usury, especially on the part of the Jews. These laws and principles were, however, an immense check upon the unjust activities of money-lenders and speculators, so that anything approaching the systematised extortion and stock-gambling of modern times was impossible.
Conclusion.–It is commonly admitted that the undue concentration of wealth under the control of the few is one of the radical causes of the social misery and unrest that prevail at the present day. Individuals controlling great wealth have excessive power in almost every phase of social activity, and following the tendency of human nature, they too often use their power unjustly and tyrannically. Those huge fortunes are usually amassed by unjust profiteering, artificially created monopolies, usury, unjust reduction of wages, the sudden fluctuations of the markets which play into the hands of greedy speculators. The mediaeval economic doctrines and legislation and the public opinion they produced and fostered made impossible, or at least kept in check, such methods of accumulating wealth, and so were a potent safeguard against one of the worst types of social injustice. (Father Edward Cahill, S.J., The Framework of a Christian State, p. 51.)
The economics of the Middle Ages were also characterized in the Twelfth Century by the rise that made possible the training of masters in various fields of commerce (merchants and crafts) after first serving years of apprenticeships and then working as journeymen. The object of these guilds was to produce a cooperative spirit so that individual guild members could pursue their own interests without endangering the common interests of their mutual trades. It was the true spirit of Catholic charity that bound the guild members together to such an extent that they provided for each other what would be called “welfare” today, administering this assistance according to the Natural Law principle of subsidiarity that requires human problems to be remedied at the lowest levels of life, staring with the family. The guilds made it possible for those with needs that could not be meet by their families to receive assistance without the “strings” attached by the monster civil state of Modernity and without bankrupting the entire body politic:
The greatest spirit of solidarity and mutual help animated the whole guild organisation. Thus money was advanced on easy terms to members who needed it. Those suffering from sickness, old age, accidents, etc., were liberally provided for. Even a guildman who might get into trouble with the municipal or state authorities had a right to the protection of the guild. If, after investigation by the council, his case was considered a deserving one he was defended in the courts at the common expense. Sick members were visited; and wine and food were sent from the public banquets to those whom illness or weakness prevent from attending. The dead, if the family was poor, was buried at the expense of their guild with all the honours befitting their position, and their daughters dowered for marriage or the convent.
The Religious Character of the Guilds.–Another peculiarly Christian characteristic of—these guilds was their practical recognition of the intimate connection of religion with commercial relations and with all the activities of life. Although the primary object of the associations was economic, the guilds made every effort to secure good conduct and fidelity to religious duties on the part of the members. Individuals were punished or sometimes expelled from the guilds for immoral or irreligious conduct.
Every guild was under the protection of a patron saint or was specially dedicated to the Holy Trinity or to the Blessed Mother of God under one of her titles. The portrait of the guild patron was painted on the banner of the guild which was borne in the public processions. Thus the guild of wood-workers was under the protection of St. Joseph. The shoemakers usually had on their banner paintings of SS. Crispin and Crispinian. Bakers were often under the patronage of St. Honorius, and so on. The association of the heavenly patron with the grade that belonged to the guild intensified the craftsmen’s pride in their work and the men’s esteem for the nobility of manual labour. The Church Feast of the patron was always the occasion of the great annual banquet of the guild.
Many guilds had their own special chapels; and we commonly find provision made in the guild statutes for the support of a chaplain and sometimes of several chaplains. Some of the most beautiful mediaeval churches belonged to or were built by the guilds. Provision was also regularly made for the celebration of Masses for the intentions of the guild, and for the offering of candles at holy shrines. On the death of a member care was taken to have Masses offered and alms given for his eternal rest. Almsgiving, which was practiced even towards the poor outside the gild, was an important item of the ordinary guild expenditure. Oftentimes a guild gave feasts in its buildings to the poor of the whole town. (Father Edward Cahill, The Framework of a Christian State, pp. 79-80.)
Christendom would continue beyond the Thirteenth Century. It was, however, at its height in the Thirteenth Century, which is why the devil used the weakness of men to embrace the world just a “little bit at a time” in the two centuries between its end and the beginning of the revolutions of Modernity that began with Father Martin Luther’s posting of his ninety-five theses on the door of Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517, and one of Martin Luther’s principal goals was to separate Church and State, a separation that has been nothing other than disastrous for the right ordering of men and their nations.
It should be noted, however, that Luther also conversed with the adversary himself, something that he related in his own writings and quoted by Protestant historian William Cobbett in his superb A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland:
. . . . Martin Luther, who says in his own works that it was by the arguments of the devil (who, he says, frequently ate, drank and slept with him) that he was induced to turn Protestant; three worthy followers of that Luther who is by his disciple Melancthon called "a brutal man, void of piety and humanity, one more a Jew than a Christian . . . . (William Cobbett, A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, written between 1824 and 1827 and published by Benziger Brothers, p. 209.)
Does anyone still want to deny that the world in which we live was inspired by the devil himself?
Protestantism Begets Capitalism with an Assist from Talmudic Principles
Although Martin Luther’s revolution, aided and abetted by Talmudic instigators, started the process that created the world of Modernity, it was the influence of John Calvin and his own brand of Judeo-Protestantism that has shaped the world of injustice and conflict today.
Among his many other false beliefs, John Calvin believed that those in the civil government could separate the "saved" from the "damned" was the degree of their material success here on earth. John Calvin believed that material success was a sign of "divine election." Thus it is that we have the Calvinist "work ethic" as those who subscribe to Calvin's warped, heretical views of God and man work hard not to give honor and glory to the Most Holy Trinity through the Immaculate Heart of Mary but to show to others that they are "saved" by virtue of their material "success" in this passing, mortal vale of tears.
Calvin’s belief in material success as the sign of divine election or predestination that has provided the foundation for the modern economic system that has forced man off of the land and dehumanized him as he has been made a slave of "material success" by the captains of industry and banking. Calvinism, which is little more than Talmudic Judaism with a slight Christian gloss, has engendered all manner of economic abuses, not the least of which is the contemporary practice of usury, discussed earlier in this book, founded in the belief that men may ignore the binding precepts of the Divine Positive Law and the Natural Law in order to be "successful" in this world.
The injustices engendered by this amoral, naturalistic view of the world helped to encourage open atheists and anti-Theists, such as Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin, to postulate a utopian system of naturalism based upon a materialistic view of man that denied his supernatural essence. The diabolical lie of Marxism-Leninism is but the logical consequence of John Calvin's materialistic view of man that denied that there could be an Omnipotent and Omniscient God Who created rational beings with free wills to choose for or against Him as He has revealed Himself to us through His true Church.
Father Fahey elaborated on the effects of Protestantism, especially the warmed-over version of Talmudic Judaism that is Calvinism, in The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World:
It was, however, the Calvinistic doctrine on predestination and the signs by which a man's divine election could be recognized, which specially favored the advent of the unlimited competition, unscrupulous underselling and feverish advertising of the present day. In his able work, from which a passage has already been quoted, Professor O'Brien shows that it was in the peculiarly British variety of Calvinism, known as Puritanism, that all the Calvinist doctrines of succession life as a sign of man's predestination, of the respect and veneration due to wealth, had their fullest development.
When all is said and done, Calvinism remains the real nursing-father of the civic industrial capitalism of the middle classes. . . . Since the aggressively active ethic inspired by the doctrine of predestination urges the elect to the full development of his God-given powers, and offers him this sign by which he may assure himself of his election, work becomes rational and systematic. In breaking down the motive of ease and enjoyment, asceticism lays the foundation of the tyranny of work over men . . . production for production's sake is declared to be a commandment of religion." (Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World.)
This has great application in every aspect of contemporary life. Most people work not for the honor and glory of God, thus giving him the fruit of their labors as the consecrated slaves of His Most Blessed Mother's Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart, but for the sake of "success," to gain what is considered to be financial "wealth" and earthly "success" as ends that justify each and every method used to achieve such success. This has been the Calvinist "contribution" to the world, so enshrined in the ethos of the "American dream," which eschews the Holy Poverty of the Holy Family of Nazareth and of such great saints as Saint Francis of Assisi and his helper and fellow adorer of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Saint Clare of Assisi. Father Fahey quoted Gilbert Keith Chesterton's observation about the insidious influence of that wretched people known as the Puritans (or Pilgrims) in a footnote on page sixteen of The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World:
"The Americans have established a Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the fact that the Pilgrim Fathers reached America. The English might very well establish another Thanksgiving Day to celebrate the happy fact that the Pilgrim Fathers left England." (Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical City of Christ in the Modern World.)
The Protestants, however, were not alone in helping to usher in the world of amorality in commerce and politics and statecraft and popular culture, including what has become known as competitive sports. Father Fahey explained the “Talmudic connection,” if you will, from which the Calvinist world-view is derived:
The learned writer, Werner Sombart, in his great work, Die Juden and das Wirtschafsleben ("The Jews in Economic Life"), attributes the great, if not the deciding, role in the formation of the modern economic outlook or mentality to the Jewish race, for to them he attributes the introduction of the ideas of "free commerce" and "unchecked competition" into a society with quite different ideas. He points out the contrast between this Jewish mentality and the ordered outlook of the Middle Ages in phrases that are worthy of citation:--
"When we examine matters more closely . . . we shall immediately see that the struggle between Jewish and Christian merchants is a struggle between two views of the world, or, at least, between two economic mentalities imbued with principles that are different or even opposed. In order to understand this statement we must represent to ourselves the spirit which inspired that economic life into which, since the sixteenth century, Jewish elements have forced their way in ever increasing volume. To this spirit they openly showed themselves so rudely opposed that they were everywhere felt to be interfering with the livelihood and subsistence of the people. During the whole time which I have designated as the period of incipient capitalism . . . the same fundamental outlook on economic relations prevailed as had been accepted during the Middle Ages. . . The unrestrained, unbridled striving after gain was considered by most people during this whole period as unlawful, as unchristian, because the spirit of the old Thomistic economic philosophy as yet swayed men's minds, at least officially." The Jewish mentality was opposed to the outlook on life impressed on society by the Catholic Church, for (:) "the Jew stands out as the business man pure and simple, as the man who, in business, takes account only of business, and who in conformity with the spirit of true capitalist economy, proclaims, in the presence of all natural ends, the supremacy of gain and profit." (Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World.)
Has not the "supremacy of gain and profit" come to define almost every aspect of contemporary life, taking into account not at all the eternal good of our immortal souls? This "supremacy of gain and profit" results in the corruption of daily living, contributing to the naturalistic belief, which itself is founded in pantheism, as Father Fahey notes, that is, that man is "divine" and is above all. The achievement of our earthly goals is what defines us as human beings, and no "external" authority, such as the Catholic Church, had better get in our way of this achievement.
A final passage from Father Fahey will underscore this point:
The Jew it was, according to Sombart, who broke down the mentality of the Middle Ages and commercialized the relations of men.
Professor O'Brien dissents from Werner Sombart's thesis that the growth of the capitalistic spirit, the spirit of subordination of all other considerations to that of profit, was due to the Jews. He admits, however, that Sombart's contention would be quite correct, if for the "Jews" we substituted "Judaism," and he points out the importance of Calvin's justification of usury in preparing the way for modern developments. The Puritans adopted Old Testament ideas: the Old Testament idea of the reward of virtue in this world fitted in with the Puritan teaching about the fulfillment of one's vocation.
It is unnecessary for the purpose of this work to apportion responsibility for the triumph of what we may call the does it pay? mentality in the world, between Jews and Puritans. At any rate, if the Puritans subordinated men to production, the Jews completed the process, by subordinating production itself to money. The right order, of money as a means for production and production subservient to man, is now, as we know, reversed. (Father Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World.)
Professor George O'Brien, cited in Father Fahey's The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World, summarized his judgment about the effects of Protestantism upon the contemporary world in An Essay on the Economic Effects of the Reformation (IHS Press, Norfolk, Virginia, 2003):
The thesis we have endeavoured to present in this essay is, that the two great dominating schools of modern economic thought have a common origin. The capitalist school, which, basing its position on the unfettered right of the individual to do what he will with his own, demands the restriction of government interference in economic and social affairs within the narrowest possible limits, and the socialist school, which, basing its position on the complete subordination of the individual to society, demands the socialization of all the means of production, if not all of wealth, face each other today as the only two solutions of the social question; they are bitterly hostile towards each other, and mutually intolerant and each is at the same weakened and provoked by the other. In one respect, and in one respect only, are they identical--they can both be shown to be the result of the Protestant Reformation.
We have seen the direct connection which exists between these modern schools of economic thought and their common ancestor. Capitalism found its roots in the intensely individualistic spirit of Protestantism, in the spread of anti-authoritative ideas from the realm of religion into the realm of political and social thought, and, above all, in the distinctive Calvinist doctrine of a successful and prosperous career being the outward and visible sign by which the regenerated might be known. Socialism, on the other hand, derived encouragement from the violations of established and prescriptive rights of which the Reformation afforded so many examples, from the growth of heretical sects tainted with Communism, and from the overthrow of the orthodox doctrine on original sin, which opened the way to the idea of the perfectibility of man through institutions. But, apart from these direct influences, there were others, indirect, but equally important. Both these great schools of economic thought are characterized by exaggerations and excesses; the one lays too great stress on the importance of the individual, and other on the importance of the community; they are both departures, in opposite directions, from the correct mean of reconciliation and of individual liberty with social solidarity. These excesses and exaggerations are the result of the free play of private judgment unguided by authority, and could not have occurred if Europe had continued to recognize an infallible central authority in ethical affairs.
The science of economics is the science of men's relations with one another in the domain of acquiring and disposing of wealth, and is, therefore, like political science in another sphere, a branch of the science of ethics. In the Middle Ages, man's ethical conduct, like his religious conduct, was under the supervision and guidance of a single authority, which claimed at the same time the right to define and to enforce its teaching. The machinery for enforcing the observance of medieval ethical teaching was of a singularly effective kind; pressure was brought to bear upon the conscience of the individual through the medium of compulsory periodical consultations with a trained moral adviser, who was empowered to enforce obedience to his advice by the most potent spiritual sanctions. In this way, the whole conduct of man in relation to his neighbours was placed under the immediate guidance of the universally received ethical preceptor, and a common standard of action was ensured throughout the Christian world in the all the affairs of life. All economic transactions in particular were subject to the jealous scrutiny of the individual's spiritual director; and such matters as sales, loans, and so on, were considered reprehensible and punishable if not conducted in accordance with the Christian standards of commutative justice.
The whole of this elaborate system for the preservation of justice in the affairs of everyday life was shattered by the Reformation. The right of private judgment, which had first been asserted in matters of faith, rapidly spread into moral matters, and the attack on the dogmatic infallibility of the Church left Europe without an authority to which it could appeal on moral questions. The new Protestant churches were utterly unable to supply this want. The principle of private judgment on which they rested deprived them of any right to be listened to whenever they attempted to dictate moral precepts to their members, and henceforth the moral behaviour of the individual became a matter to be regulated by the promptings of his own conscience, or by such philosophical systems of ethics as he happened to approve. The secular state endeavoured to ensure that dishonesty amounting to actual theft or fraud should be kept in check, but this was a poor and ineffective substitute for the powerful weapon of the confessional. Authority having once broken down, it was but a single step from Protestantism to rationalism; and the way was opened to the development of all sorts of erroneous systems of morality. Dr. George O’Brien, An Essay on the Economic Effects of the Reformation, IHS Press, Norfolk, Virginia, 2003.)
Amintore Fanfani, who died in 1999 and had served as the Prime Minister of Italy on six different occasions of varying lengths between 1954 and 1987, noted in Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism, that it is only when men keep a view on their eternal destiny that they can be just stewards of the this of this world. The success of the above-named Protestant revolutionaries and naturalistic "philosophers" and "theorists" was made possible by the overthrow of he authority of the Catholic Church. Unrestrained self-seeking replaced the authority of the Catholic Church:
Those who have followed our argument cannot fail to conclude, as we do, that in the Middle Ages it was the international trade ventures that did most to favour the rise of the capitalist spirit. In light of these considerations, the conception of trade in St. Thomas, the champion of the Catholic social ideal, appears only logical, "For, "says St. Thomas, "the city that for its subsistence has need of much merchandise must necessarily submit to the presence of foreigners. Now relations with foreigners, as Aristotle says in his Politics, very often corrupt national customs: the foreigners who have been brought up under other laws and customs, in many cases act otherwise than is the use of the citizens, who, led by their example, imitate them and so bring disturbance into social life. Moreover, if the citizens themselves engage in commerce, they open the way to many vices. For since the aim of merchants is wholly one of gain, greed takes root in the heart of the citizens, by which everything, in the city, becomes venal, and, with the disappearance of good faith, the way is open to fraud; the general good is despised, and each man will seek his own particular advantage; the taste for virtue will be lost when the honour which is normally the reward of virtue is accorded to all. Hence, in such a city civil life cannot fail to grow corrupt."
When these words are understood, and we bear in mind the ideal of a Catholic society and the aspirations of capitalism, we can easily see why the friar noted a tendency to reason only in a "venal" manner and ("despising the general good") to seek only "particular advantage."
The characteristics of capitalism are precisely the following: the adoption of an economic criterion as criterion of order; failure to consider third persons; a quest for purely individual profit. Nor did Aquinas exaggerate when he saw in the merchant the greatest danger in "civil life," as he understood it. It is not by chance that the first capitalistic figures presented to us are merchants--Godric, later St. Godric, presented by Pirenne; the Mariano by Heynen; the Bardi, the Peruzzi, the Del Bene by Sapori; Datini by Bensa; the Fugger by Sreider. Nor is it by chance that though opinions differ as to whether capitalism sprang from land-owners or traders, all agree that even land-owners first showed themselves capitalistic in the quality of merchants. In mediaeval economic society the only individual who could easily and often find himself in a position to act otherwise than in conformity with pre-capitalistic ideals was the merchant. Having left his city, exposed to risks of every kind, free from such ties as the laws of country or the opinion of his acquaintances, surrounded by intriguing people who saw in him only someone to be cheated, he had to defend himself against the cheaters by cheating, against competitors by sharpening his wits to find new methods of competition, and against adverse circumstances by learning to overcome them. Although he may have been a God-fearing man, if it was urgent for him to take back to the warehouse at least the equivalent of what he had brought away, he was obligated to throw overboard something of his pre-capitalistic ideas, even if in paradaisal conditions they might have appealed to him.
In another part of the present work we have pointed out that in a pre-capitalistic society if a single individual breaks away from the norm, the others will be forced to follow his example if only in self-defence. Let the reader then consider the vast significance of encounters either with merchants of another religion, or with subtle, equivocal, and unscrupulous merchants, always ready to take advantage of any opportunity. Faced with these, men's faithfulness to their own ideals will have begun to waver; their consequent actions will have produced such remarkable results that we doubt whether their conviction of wrong-doing will have been reinforced. To reason in terms of utility means a tangible result; to reason in terms of Paradise means hope of a result of which the certainty vanishes if faith weakens. We must not forget how much the capitalistic ideal has the advantage in being concrete, and, remembering this, we can more easily understand how a profitable infraction of pre-capitalist normality would rather lead men to repeat such infractions than arouse in them such remorse as to lead them back to the old path. We hold it a very significant fact that among mediaeval merchants remorse led to notable conversion even when in no danger of death. It is enough to quote St. Godric, St. Francis, Blessed Colombini. It led also to death-bed restitutions, often complete, and which were the more wonderful the harder it had been for the dying man to scrape together his hoard, and the more reluctant he had been in his life to give a penny to anyone who had not earned it twice over. Such conversions, implying a return to pre-capitalistic modes of life, continue so long as there is faith, but when faith weakens there is no longer thought of reparation.
It is the waning of faith that explains the establishment of a capitalistic spirit in a Catholic world, but in a certain sense it is the establishment of the capitalistic spirit that brings about a waning of faith. The effect of the weakening of faith is that the material factors we have mentioned change from momentary circumstances to permanent ones. With the weakening of faith, remorse becomes rare; the "is" is no longer compared with the "should-be," and that which is accepted and exploited in accordance with its own standards; the world is judged by purely worldly criteria.
All the circumstances that, in the Middle Ages, led to a waning of faith explain the progressive establishment of the capitalistic spirit, for the pre-capitalistic spirit rests on facts that are not seen, but must be held by faith. Those faithful to it sacrifice a certain result for a result that is not guaranteed by faith; they eschew a certain mode of action in the certainty of losing riches, but believing that they will gain a future reward in heaven. Let man lose this belief, and nothing remains for him, rationally speaking, but to act in a capitalistic manner. If there are no longer religious ties uniting man to man, there will be a growing number of audacious men whose sole end, in the words of Villari, is to be ahead of their fellows. Such men existed before the modern era began, and of such men it has been said that they showed "a complete lack of scruples and contempt for every moral law."
Men were particularly encouraged to sharpen their wits to acquire wealth, and moral obstacles were removed by the fact that, by a subversion of ancient custom, the highest offices no longer fell to those summoned to them by law or custom, but to those who could win them either by their own or others' wit, by their own or others' material strength, or by their own ability and others' baseness. In each case the stair of ascent was provided by economic means, from the moment that economic difficulties made all feel the need of goods. The Emperor no longer sought homage but money, the Cities widened their domains more by gold than by arms. Bankers became masters of cities without striking a blow. Gold paved the way and opened the gates to the new tyrants. Even the man who, from lofty motives, had no need of money could not do without it, if he did not wish to cut a poor figure at banquets and ceremonies, or be behind hand in public largesse.
It is a vicious circle. A man seeks goods because he no longer believes in a faith that bounded his desires, and he no longer believes because he has experienced the pleasures of possession and influence. We need not enquire at what moment the former or the latter of these causes came into operation; we know that their working varied from country to country, from individual to individual, and that now a man might be tempted to discount morality by the attraction of goods, and now might be tempted to enrich himself because, he is no loner believed in divine penalties and rewards. And if in the case of an individual it would be hard to say which cause came first, it would be impossible in the case of society. We may take it for granted that in society as a whole both causes worked simultaneously, each stimulated by the other.
There were other phenomena that encouraged either acquisition action or incredulity. Leaving aside the less important and local ones, and confining ourselves to those of which the action was most general at the close of the pre-capitalistic period, we may say that the greatest contribution to the new economic spirit informing fifteenth-century men was brought by the humanist conception of life, of which the exponents, such as Alberti, took the most significant step towards the capitalist spirit by detaching their conception of wealth from its moral setting, and withdrawing the acquisition and use of goods from the influence of the rules and restrictions of religious morality. The advent of similar tendencies in the political field had the result that the State ceased to oppose the new mode of thought and life, and instead itself threw off the influence of Catholic ideals, often in order to exploit human vices, as we see in legislation on gambling. (Amintore Fanfani, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism, published originally by Sheed and Ward, 1935, republished in 2002 by IHS Press, pp. 135-138.)
Fanfani went on to note how Protestantism exploited this weakening of the Catholic Faith and built an entire economic system to suit its own heretical purposes:
Protestantism encouraged capitalism inasmuch as it denied the relation between earthly action and eternal recompense. From this point of view there is no real difference between the Lutheran and Calvinistic currents, for while it is true that Calvin linked salvation to arbitrary divine predestination, Luther made it depend on faith alone. Neither of the two connected it with works. Nevertheless, Calvin's statement was the more vigorous, and therefore better able to bear practical fruit in a capitalistic sense.
Such an assertion invalidates any supernatural morality, hence also the economic ethics of Catholicism, and opens the way to a thousand moral systems, all natural, all earthy, all based on principles inherent in human affairs. Protestantism by this principle did not act in a positive sense, as [Max] Weber believes, but in a negative sense, paving the way for the positive action of innumerable impulses, which--like the risks entailed by distant markets, in the pre-Reformation period, the price revolution at the time of the Reformation, and the industrial revolution in the period following—led man to direct his action by purely economic criteria. Catholicism acts in opposition to capitalism by seeking to restrain these impulses and to bring various spheres of life into harmony on an ideal plane. Protestantism acted in favor of capitalism, for its religious teaching paved the way for it. (Amintore Fanfani, Catholicism, Protestantism, and Capitalism, published originally by Sheed and Ward, 1935, republished in 2002 by IHS Press, p. 151.)
The belief that social life is defined solely by economic criteria is what unites the false opposites of the naturalist “left” and right” even though they do not realize this. As I have noted so many times in the past on this site, the false opposites of the naturalist “right” and “left,” despite their differences on the margins of the errors of Modernity, are united in their belief that men can order their lives without any reference to religion at all, no less the true religion, and that men can do anything they want by means of their own unaided powers. In others, the adherents of the “left” and the “right” believe that men do not need Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ or His true Church and that it is not necessary for men to have belief in, access to and cooperation with Sanctifying Grace in order to create a better and more just world. The adherents of the “left and the “right” believe that the “better world” is defined by economics and not by the state of the souls of men.
The late Dr. George O'Brien stressed the fact that there is only one institution that can reorder the world properly, and it is not a secular, naturalistic international organization or a secular, naturalistic political party:
There is one institution and one institution alone which is capable of supplying and enforcing the social ethic that is needed to revivify the world. It is an institution at once intra-national and international; an institution that can claim to pronounce infallibly on moral matters, and to enforce the observance of the its moral decrees by direct sanctions on the individual conscience of man; an institution which, while respecting and supporting the civil governments of nations, can claim to exist independently of them, and can insist that they shall not intrude upon the moral life or fetter the moral liberty of their citizens. Europe possessed such an institution in the Middle Ages; its dethronement was the unique achievement of the Reformation; and the injury inflicted by that dethronement has never since been repaired. (George O'Brien, An Essay on the Economic Effects of the Reformation, first published in 1923, republished by IHS press in 2003, p. 132.)
Father Edward Cahill, S.J., writing in The Framework of a Christian State, wrote the following about Luther and his revolution against the Church that Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope:
The assertion that Protestantism has introduced into Europe, or promoted, democratic freedom or real liberty of conscience is still more patently untrue. It is a fact, indeed, that at the beginning of the revolt Luther's professions were radically democratic. He promised to benefit the people at large by curtailing the power of both Church and State. But he and his followers ended up by supporting an irresponsible despotism such as Europe had not known since the days of the pagan Emperors of Rome.
Inspired by Luther's democratic professions and his denunciations of the "tyranny and oppression" of the rulers, the knights and the lesser nobility of many of the German States, and later on, the peasants rose in open revolt against the princes. When the revolution was crushed in blood (1525) the victorious princes, now without a rival and no longer kept in check by the moderating influence of the Catholic Church, used their augmented power to establish a despotism which they exceeded for their own personal advantage, in opposition to the interests of the people; while Luther, with unscrupulous inconsistency, now proclaimed the doctrine of the unlimited power of rulers.
Soon even the Church in the Protestant States fell completely under the control of the ruling princes, who were thus established as the absolute masters of both Church and State. The wealth of the Church, which hitherto had been the patrimony of the poor; its authority; all the ecclesiastical institutions, including hospitals, schools, homes of refuge, etc., passed into the hands of the kings, princes, and the town magistrates. At the Peace of Augsburg (1555), which ended the first phase of the revolution in Germany, the principle was formally adopted that the prince of each state was free to dictate the religion of each and all of his subjects." (Father Edward Cahill, S.J., The Framework of a Christian State, published in 1932 in Ireland and republished by Roman Catholic books, pp. 93-94. William Cobbett, a Protestant historian who never converted to the Holy Faith, wrote a remarkably full and honest account of the plunder of monasteries and convents under King Henry VIII in England, thus beginning the rise of all economic miseries since that time as this plunder threw off the poor from their lands and consigned them to pauperism and vagabondage. For a fuller account of this plunder, please see Appendix B. Even most Catholics have no idea how the entirety of the modern economic system was the result of the Protestant Revolution, up to and including the concept of a “national debt” that has enriched Talmudic bankers and merchants in the past and that has reached such a point in the United States of America as to make this country’s resources a vassal of the Red Chinese tyrants, who are plundering the goods of the underground Church at this time with Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s full blessing and support.)
Thus began the rise of the statism that is upon us at this time. There is no way to regard the growth of statism by making advertence to some kind of “generic” Christianity and/or by relying upon the Judeo-Masonic principles of naturalism and its religious indifferentism. Catholicism is but the one and only foundation of personal and social order, which is why the devil worked very hard to plant the seeds of corruption in the two centuries leading up to Martin Luther’ revolution against God and His true Church. And far from being “peaceful,” Luther’s revolution was born in blood as Catholic churches and convents were plundered and ransacked.
Contemporary Capitalism Produced Socialism
Pope Leo XIII, writing at the very beginning of Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891, explained how the "new things" of Modernity had invaded the precincts of economics, resulting in crushing conditions for workers. He rejected the false foundations of Calvinist capitalism while at the same time rejecting categorically the "alternative" of Socialism and its attack upon the Natural Law right of private property. Pope Leo understood that it is the right conduct of men in due submission to the laws of God and in cooperation with Sanctifying Grace that are at the foundation of a justly ordered economic system:
That the spirit of revolutionary change, which has long been disturbing the nations of the world, should have passed beyond the sphere of politics and made its influence felt in the cognate sphere of practical economics is not surprising. The elements of the conflict now raging are unmistakable, in the vast expansion of industrial pursuits and the marvelous discoveries of science; in the changed relations between masters and workmen; in the enormous fortunes of some few individuals, and the utter poverty of the masses; in the increased self-reliance and closer mutual combination of the working classes; as also, finally, in the prevailing moral degeneracy. The momentous gravity of the state of things now obtaining fills every mind with painful apprehension; wise men are discussing it; practical men are proposing schemes; popular meetings, legislatures, and rulers of nations are all busied with it -- actually there is no question which has taken a deeper hold on the public mind.
Therefore, venerable brethren, as on former occasions when it seemed opportune to refute false teaching, We have addressed you in the interests of the Church and of the common weal, and have issued letters bearing on political power, human liberty, the Christian constitution of the State, and like matters, so have We thought it expedient now to speak on the condition of the working classes. It is a subject on which We have already touched more than once, incidentally. But in the present letter, the responsibility of the apostolic office urges Us to treat the question of set purpose and in detail, in order that no misapprehension may exist as to the principles which truth and justice dictate for its settlement. The discussion is not easy, nor is it void of danger. It is no easy matter to define the relative rights and mutual duties of the rich and of the poor, of capital and of labor. And the danger lies in this, that crafty agitators are intent on making use of these differences of opinion to pervert men's judgments and to stir up the people to revolt.
In any case we clearly see, and on this there is general agreement, that some opportune remedy must be found quickly for the misery and wretchedness pressing so unjustly on the majority of the working class: for the ancient workingmen's guilds were abolished in the last century, and no other protective organization took their place. Public institutions and the laws set aside the ancient religion. Hence, by degrees it has come to pass that working men have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to the hardheartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with like injustice, still practiced by covetous and grasping men. To this must be added that the hiring of labor and the conduct of trade are concentrated in the hands of comparatively few; so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the teeming masses of the laboring poor a yoke little better than that of slavery itself.
To remedy these wrongs the socialists, working on the poor man's envy of the rich, are striving to do away with private property, and contend that individual possessions should become the common property of all, to be administered by the State or by municipal bodies. They hold that by thus transferring property from private individuals to the community, the present mischievous state of things will be set to rights, inasmuch as each citizen will then get his fair share of whatever there is to enjoy. But their contentions are so clearly powerless to end the controversy that were they carried into effect the working man himself would be among the first to suffer. They are, moreover, emphatically unjust, for they would rob the lawful possessor, distort the functions of the State, and create utter confusion in the community. (Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891.)
The abuses associated with Calvinist capitalism, which are the result of fallen human nature uninformed by the Deposit of Faith and unreformed by Sanctifying Grace, are not to be repaired by mythical, "self-correcting" "market forces" or by Socialism. The capitalist system, which places an emphasis upon the expansion of wealth as the means to personal happiness and national prosperity, reduce men ultimately to the acquisitive level, concerned mostly, if not exclusively, with the securing of "wealth" in this life without any regard to the life that lasts forever. How many of those involved in the ongoing "credit crisis" caused by a combination of forces (among these being the reckless policies of quasi-government lenders--Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and commercial lenders who encouraged and approved the issuance of subprime mortgages in a housing market that could not sustain itself) considered for a moment how any of their actions would be judged by Christ the King as the moment of their Particular Judgments? Most of these men and women were motivated only by greed and their desire to enjoy to excess more and more of this world's good no matter whose assets they put at risk in doing so.
Pope Pius XII, writing in his last encyclical letter, Ad Apostolorum Principis, June 29, 1958, explained that the Catholic Church does indeed have the right to lay down the principles that govern human conduct in the realm of economics:
Assuming false and unjust premises, they are not afraid to take a position which would confine within a narrow scope the supreme teaching authority of the Church, claiming that there are certain questions -- such as those which concern social and economic matters -- in which Catholics may ignore the teachings and the directives of this Apostolic See.
This opinion -- it seems entirely unnecessary to demonstrate its existence -- is utterly false and full of error because, as We declared a few years ago to a special meeting of Our Venerable Brethren in the episcopacy:
"The power of the Church is in no sense limited to so-called 'strictly religious matters'; but the whole matter of the natural law, its institution, interpretation and application, in so far as the moral aspect is concerned, are within its power.
"By God's appointment the observance of the natural law concerns the way by which man must strive toward his supernatural end. The Church shows the way and is the guide and guardian of men with respect to their supernatural end."
This truth had already been wisely explained by Our Predecessor St. Pius X in his Encyclical Letter Singulari quadam of September 24, 1912, in which he made this statement: "All actions of a Christian man so far as they are morally either good or bad -- that is, so far as they agree with or are contrary to the natural and divine law -- fall under the judgment and jurisdiction of the Church."
Moreover, even when those who arbitrarily set and defend these narrow limits profess a desire to obey the Roman Pontiff with regard to truths to be believed, and to observe what they call ecclesiastical directives, they proceed with such boldness that they refuse to obey the precise and definite prescriptions of the Holy See. They protest that these refer to political affairs because of a hidden meaning by the author, as if these prescriptions took their origin from some secret conspiracy against their own nation. (Pope Pius XII, Ad Apostolorum Principis, June 29, 1958.)
And those Catholics, whether attracted to libertarianism or to some variant of Socialism, including Communism, who believe that they are exempt from the Catholic Church's social encyclical letters as the Church, according to their own dissenting "lights," do not bind them. They are most wrong, as Pope Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII noted conclusively:
Many believe in or claim that they believe in and hold fast to Catholic doctrine on such questions as social authority, the right of owning private property, on the relations between capital and labor, on the rights of the laboring man, on the relations between Church and State, religion and country, on the relations between the different social classes, on international relations, on the rights of the Holy See and the prerogatives of the Roman Pontiff and the Episcopate, on the social rights of Jesus Christ, Who is the Creator, Redeemer, and Lord not only of individuals but of nations. In spite of these protestations, they speak, write, and, what is more, act as if it were not necessary any longer to follow, or that they did not remain still in full force, the teachings and solemn pronouncements which may be found in so many documents of the Holy See, and particularly in those written by Leo XIII, Pius X, and Benedict XV.
There is a species of moral, legal, and social modernism which We condemn, no less decidedly than We condemn theological modernism.
It is necessary ever to keep in mind these teachings and pronouncements which We have made; it is no less necessary to reawaken that spirit of faith, of supernatural love, and of Christian discipline which alone can bring to these principles correct understanding, and can lead to their observance. This is particularly important in the case of youth, and especially those who aspire to the priesthood, so that in the almost universal confusion in which we live they at least, as the Apostle writes, will not be "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine by the wickedness of men, by cunning craftiness, by which they lie in wait to deceive." (Ephesians iv, 14) (Pope Pius XI, Ubi Arcano Dei Consilio, December 23, 1922.)
Most men alive today, including even most believing Catholics, sadly, believe that Holy Mother Church has no role to play in the guiding of a just economic order, and thus it is that we have a conflict between a “free market” system that is not as “free” as is thought and the contemporary version of socialism that is serving as but yet another preparation for the coming of Antichrist. Greed and pride, two of the Seven Deadly Sins, must be triumphant when Our Lord and His true Church are banished from the hearts and minds of men and from the institutions and laws of their nations.
The combination of Pride and Greed are what make it absolutely poisonous for the latter day captains of industry and banking, many of whom have souls that steeped in the ravages of Original Sin and have contempt for the true Faith as they fund abortion and contraception and perversity in the United States and around the world, to be placed in positions of unbridled economic power without any understanding of their accountability to God for their actions. Any economic system, be it Calvinist capitalism or the variant of Socialism, that denies the authority of the Catholic Church over men and their nations is bound to make men prisoners of materialism by various means (profit and usury in the capitalist system; state control over private property and most aspects of the economy in socialism).
As Pope Pius XI noted in Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931, issued on the fortieth anniversary of Rerum Novarum, the capitalist error of individualism cannot be "fixed" by the socialist error of collectivism. Men need the true Faith to guide them as they conduct their temporal affairs in light of their Last End:
But it is only the moral law which, just as it commands us to seek our supreme and last end in the whole scheme of our activity, so likewise commands us to seek directly in each kind of activity those purposes which we know that nature, or rather God the Author of nature, established for that kind of action, and in orderly relationship to subordinate such immediate purposes to our supreme and last end. If we faithfully observe this law, then it will follow that the particular purposes, both individual and social, that are sought in the economic field will fall in their proper place in the universal order of purposes, and We, in ascending through them, as it were by steps, shall attain the final end of all things, that is God, to Himself and to us, the supreme and inexhaustible Good. . . .
If Socialism, like all errors, contains some truth (which, moreover, the Supreme Pontiffs have never denied), it is based nevertheless on a theory of human society peculiar to itself and irreconcilable with true Christianity. Religious socialism, Christian socialism, are contradictory terms; no one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist. (Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931.)
There is no such thing as Christian socialism. “No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”
Pope Pius XI reminded the world's bishops in Quadragesimo Anno of the simple, plain truth that naturalists of the “left” and the “right” refuse to accept as they wonder why an economic system built on falsehoods and outright thefts (both from the corporate and governmental sectors) of what belongs rightly to the people, their private property.
The world in which we live, the world that is shaped by the aftereffects of Protestantism and the continuing influences of Judeo-Masonry and all of the naturalistic ideologies and theories spawned thereby, is one that is in desperate need of hearing the prophetic voice of the Catholic Church in calling all men and their nations to return to Christ the King through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, who is Our Queen and Our Mother. Alas, the conciliarists no longer call men and their nations to conversion, content to wax about the "civilization of love" and a "healthy secularity" as the false foundations of the modern civil state with which it has reconciled itself are producing nothing but chaos, destruction and disarray in the United States of America and elsewhere in the world.
None of the adherents of the “left” or the “right” can admit that the modern world has been shaped by the forces unleashed by Martin Luther, John Calvin, Thomas Cranmer, John Knox, John Wesley, John Locke, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, Thomas Hobbes, Immanuel Kant, Maximilian Robespierre and James Madison, who believed that the best way to guard against the "vice of factions" was to create the extended “commercial” republic. We must, however, listen to the sage analysis offered by Catholics about the shape of the modern world, which convinces men that they must be separated from their families for most of hours of the weeks and attempts to convince women that it unnatural for them to stay at home with their children, thereby maladjusting their children who want and need and deserve the loving attention of their mothers.
The late Father Vincent McNabb, O.P., writing in The Church and the Land, noted this exact phenomenon of the world created by the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King:
(3) How many mothers (women?) go out to work?
Stated in terms of industrialism, the home is the most important factory in the Commonwealth. Other factories make commodities called (often by a courtesy title) boots, hose furniture, jam, margarine (the Lord preserve us!), Boxo, and the whole inferno of tinned beastliness whose name is legion. The home alone makes boys and girls, men and women, good men and women, good Englishmen and good Englishwomen. And without these human commodities of what use are even the finest "canned goods".
(4) How many children are in the average family?
Read (3) over again. You will see that this efficient factory called the Home is the more efficient the more commodities it can produce, and the better the finish it can give them. Now the best of all training in the three essential civic virtues of Poverty, Chastity, Obedience, is in the large family. Experto credite Roberto. Trust Bob, at his job.
(5) How many mothers suckle their offspring?
To appreciate this question, read 3 and 4 over again. Then read a second time. If you don't see the point at the second reading—consult a doctor. (Father Vincent McNabb, O.P., The Church and the Land, published originally in London in 1925, republished in 2003 by IHS Press, pp. 40-41.)
There were many far-seeing Catholics a century ago who understood the road of destruction upon which the world had been set. However, not even many Catholics paid any attention then, and they continue to believe in the political and economic equivalent of the tooth fairy by genuflecting at the altars of their political champions, who are see as something approaching secular saviors.
The Popes Speak Against Socialism
Pope Leo XIII used his first encyclical letter, Quod Apostolicis Muneris, December 28, 1878, to condemn the growth of incipient socialism that would, in its Marxist-Leninist form, gain its first real foothold in Russia. His Holiness knew very clearly the dangers that socialism posed as the supposed “remedy” for the abuses engendered by Judeo-Calvinist capitalism:
4. But it is to be lamented that those to whom has been committed the guardianship of the public weal, deceived by the wiles of wicked men and terrified by their threats, have looked upon the Church with a suspicious and even hostile eye, not perceiving that the attempts of the sects would be vain if the doctrine of the Catholic Church and the authority of the Roman Pontiffs had always survived, with the honor that belongs to them, among princes and peoples. For, “the church of the living God, which is the pillar and ground of truth,” hands down those doctrines and precepts whose special object is the safety and peace of society and the uprooting of the evil growth of socialism.
5. For, indeed, although the socialists, stealing the very Gospel itself with a view to deceive more easily the unwary, have been accustomed to distort it so as to suit their own purposes, nevertheless so great is the difference between their depraved teachings and the most pure doctrine of Christ that none greater could exist: “for what participation hath justice with injustice or what fellowship hath light with darkness?” Their habit, as we have intimated, is always to maintain that nature has made all men equal, and that, therefore, neither honor nor respect is due to majesty, nor obedience to laws, unless, perhaps, to those sanctioned by their own good pleasure. But, on the contrary, in accordance with the teachings of the Gospel, the equality of men consists in this: that all, having inherited the same nature, are called to the same most high dignity of the sons of God, and that, as one and the same end is set before all, each one is to be judged by the same law and will receive punishment or reward according to his deserts. The inequality of rights and of power proceeds from the very Author of nature, “from whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named.” But the minds of princes and their subjects are, according to Catholic doctrine and precepts, bound up one with the other in such a manner, by mutual duties and rights, that the thirst for power is restrained and the rational ground of obedience made easy, firm, and noble. (Pope Leo XIII, Quod Apostolicis Muneri, December 28, 1878.)
One of the greatest myths propagated by socialists, starting with the proto-socialists of Judeo-Masonry’s own French Revolution two hundred years ago, through the last nearly two centuries is that of egalitarianism, which rejects all authority above that which a “majority” of “reasonable men” decided is best for the unwashed masses. This egalitarianism, however, places authority in an elite who always seem to know “better” than the masses, thereby establishing a new class of high priests and priestesses from whom no one can dissent legitimately. Pope Leo XIII addressed the myth that is egalitarianism, explaining that inequality exists in the nature of things, starting with the very fact the created beings are inferior to their Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier:
6. Assuredly, the Church wisely inculcates the apostolic precept on the mass of men: “There is no power but from God; and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation.” And again she admonishes those “subject by necessity” to be so “not only for wrath but also for conscience’ sake,” and to render “to all men their dues; tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” For, He who created and governs all things has, in His wise providence, appointed that the things which are lowest should attain their ends by those which are intermediate, and these again by the highest. Thus, as even in the kingdom of heaven He hath willed that the choirs of angels be distinct and some subject to others, and also in the Church has instituted various orders and a diversity of offices, so that all are not apostles or doctors or pastors, so also has He appointed that there should be various orders in civil society, differing indignity, rights, and power, whereby the State, like the Church, should be one body, consisting of many members, some nobler than others, but all necessary to each other and solicitous for the common good.
9. But Catholic wisdom, sustained by the precepts of natural and divine law, provides with especial care for public and private tranquillity in its doctrines and teachings regarding the duty of government and the distribution of the goods which are necessary for life and use. For, while the socialists would destroy the “right” of property, alleging it to be a human invention altogether opposed to the inborn equality of man, and, claiming a community of goods, argue that poverty should not be peaceably endured, and that the property and privileges of the rich may be rightly invaded, the Church, with much greater wisdom and good sense, recognizes the inequality among men, who are born with different powers of body and mind, inequality in actual possession, also, and holds that the right of property and of ownership, which springs from nature itself, must not be touched and stands inviolate. For she knows that stealing and robbery were forbidden in so special a manner by God, the Author and Defender of right, that He would not allow man even to desire what belonged to another, and that thieves and despoilers, no less than adulterers and idolaters, are shut out from the Kingdom of Heaven. But not the less on this account does our holy Mother not neglect the care of the poor or omit to provide for their necessities; but, rather, drawing them to her with a mother’s embrace, and knowing that they bear the person of Christ Himself, who regards the smallest gift to the poor as a benefit conferred on Himself, holds them in great honor. She does all she can to help them; she provides homes and hospitals where they may be received, nourished, and cared for all the world over and watches over these. She is constantly pressing on the rich that most grave precept to give what remains to the poor; and she holds over their heads the divine sentence that unless they succor the needy they will be repaid by eternal torments. In fine, she does all she can to relieve and comfort the poor, either by holding up to them the example of Christ, “who being rich became poor for our sake, or by reminding them of his own words, wherein he pronounced the poor blessed and bade them hope for the reward of eternal bliss. But who does not see that this is the best method of arranging the old struggle between the rich and poor? For, as the very evidence of facts and events shows, if this method is rejected or disregarded, one of two things must occur: either the greater portion of the human race will fall back into the vile condition of slavery which so long prevailed among the pagan nations, or human society must continue to be disturbed by constant eruptions, to be disgraced by rapine and strife, as we have had sad witness even in recent times.
10. These things being so, then, venerable brethren, as at the beginning of Our pontificate We, on whom the guidance of the whole Church now lies, pointed out a place of refuge to the peoples and the princes tossed about by the fury of the tempest, so now, moved by the extreme peril that is on them, We again lift up Our voice, and beseech them again and again for their own safety’s sake as well as that of their people to welcome and give ear to the Church which has had such wonderful influence on the public prosperity of kingdoms, and to recognize that political and religious affairs are so closely united that what is taken from the spiritual weakens the loyalty of subjects and the majesty of the government. And since they know that the Church of Christ has such power to ward off the plague of socialism as cannot be found in human laws, in the mandates of magistrates, or in the force of armies, let them restore that Church to the condition and liberty in which she may exert her healing force for the benefit of all society.
11. But you, venerable brethren, who know the origin and the drift of these gathering evils, strive with all your force of soul to implant the Catholic teaching deep in the minds of all. Strive that all may have the habit of clinging to God with filial love and revering His divinity from their tenderest years; that they may respect the majesty of princes and of laws; that they may restrain their passions and stand fast by the order which God has established in civil and domestic society. Moreover, labor hard that the children of the Catholic Church neither join nor favor in any way whatsoever this abominable sect; let them show, on the contrary, by noble deeds and right dealing in all things, how well and happily human society would hold together were each member to shine as an example of right doing and of virtue. In fine, as the recruits of socialism are especially sought among artisans and workmen, who, tired, perhaps, of labor, are more easily allured by the hope of riches and the promise of wealth, it is well to encourage societies of artisans and workmen which, constituted under the guardianship of religion, may tend to make all associates contented with their lot and move them to a quiet and peaceful life. (Pope Leo XIII, Quod Apostolicis Muneris, December 28, 1878.)
One of the corollary proofs of the apostasies facing us at this time is the man who claims to be “Pope Francis,” is entirely supportive of socialism and its goals. His kinship with world leaders who embrace socialist policies and with George Soros, the world’s leading financier of all things wicked (contraception, abortion, “palliative care,” sodomy and all its related perverse vices, “open borders,” violence against opponents of the “enlightened” Soros agenda, socialism, statism, globalism, feminism, environmentalism, evolutionism, etc.) and his words of praise for them speak loudly about the fact that he is a fellow traveler who has as much contempt for papal condemnations of socialism and communism as his predecessors have had for the very immutable nature of dogmatic truth, noting that belief in biological evolutionism would lead to social and theological evolutionism. Jorge Mario Bergoglio is one of those hypocritical egalitarians who believe that the “enlightened” are more “equal” than all the rest.
As the abuses caused by the Judeo-Calvinist capitalism grew in the latter part of the Nineteenth Century and as the agitation caused by socialists against those abuses grew louder and louder and attracted many Catholics to their cause, Pope Leo XIII elaborated on the relationship between labor and capital in his landmark encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891, that once again stressed that inequality exists in the very nature of things and that pain and suffering will have no end in this life, discussing the desire of socialists to gain control of children by placing them on a level of equality with the authority of their parents
14. The contention, then, that the civil government should at its option intrude into and exercise intimate control over the family and the household is a great and pernicious error. True, if a family finds itself in exceeding distress, utterly deprived of the counsel of friends, and without any prospect of extricating itself, it is right that extreme necessity be met by public aid, since each family is a part of the commonwealth. In like manner, if within the precincts of the household there occur grave disturbance of mutual rights, public authority should intervene to force each party to yield to the other its proper due; for this is not to deprive citizens of their rights, but justly and properly to safeguard and strengthen them.
But the rulers of the commonwealth must go no further; here, nature bids them stop. Paternal authority can be neither abolished nor absorbed by the State; for it has the same source as human life itself. “The child belongs to the father,” and is, as it were, the continuation of the father’s personality; and speaking strictly, the child takes its place in civil society, not of its own right, but in its quality as member of the family in which it is born. And for the very reason that “the child belongs to the father” it is, as St. Thomas Aquinas says, “before it attains the use of free will, under the power and the charge of its parents.” The socialists, therefore, in setting aside the parent and setting up a State supervision, act against natural justice, and destroy the structure of the home.
15. And in addition to injustice, it is only too evident what an upset and disturbance there would be in all classes, and to how intolerable and hateful a slavery citizens would be subjected. The door would be thrown open to envy, to mutual invective, and to discord; the sources of wealth themselves would run dry, for no one would have any interest in exerting his talents or his industry; and that ideal equality about which they entertain pleasant dreams would be in reality the leveling down of all to a like condition of misery and degradation.
Hence, it is clear that the main tenet of socialism, community of goods, must be utterly rejected, since it only injures those whom it would seem meant to benefit, is directly contrary to the natural rights of mankind, and would introduce confusion and disorder into the commonweal. The first and most fundamental principle, therefore, if one would undertake to alleviate the condition of the masses, must be the inviolability of private property. This being established, we proceed to show where the remedy sought for must be found.
16. We approach the subject with confidence, and in the exercise of the rights which manifestly appertain to Us, for no practical solution of this question will be found apart from the intervention of religion and of the Church. It is We who are the chief guardian of religion and the chief dispenser of what pertains to the Church; and by keeping silence we would seem to neglect the duty incumbent on us. Doubtless, this most serious question demands the attention and the efforts of others besides ourselves — to wit, of the rulers of States, of employers of labor, of the wealthy, aye, of the working classes themselves, for whom We are pleading. But We affirm without hesitation that all the striving of men will be vain if they leave out the Church. It is the Church that insists, on the authority of the Gospel, upon those teachings whereby the conflict can be brought to an end, or rendered, at least, far less bitter; the Church uses her efforts not only to enlighten the mind, but to direct by her precepts the life and conduct of each and all; the Church improves and betters the condition of the working man by means of numerous organizations; does her best to enlist the services of all classes in discussing and endeavoring to further in the most practical way, the interests of the working classes; and considers that for this purpose recourse should be had, in due measure and degree, to the intervention of the law and of State authority.
17. It must be first of all recognized that the condition of things inherent in human affairs must be borne with, for it is impossible to reduce civil society to one dead level. Socialists may in that intent do their utmost, but all striving against nature is in vain. There naturally exist among mankind manifold differences of the most important kind; people differ in capacity, skill, health, strength; and unequal fortune is a necessary result of unequal condition. Such inequality is far from being disadvantageous either to individuals or to the community. Social and public life can only be maintained by means of various kinds of capacity for business and the playing of many parts; and each man, as a rule, chooses the part which suits his own peculiar domestic condition. As regards bodily labor, even had man never fallen from the state of innocence, he would not have remained wholly idle; but that which would then have been his free choice and his delight became afterwards compulsory, and the painful expiation for his disobedience. “Cursed be the earth in thy work; in thy labor thou shalt eat of it all the days of thy life.”
18. In like manner, the other pains and hardships of life will have no end or cessation on earth; for the consequences of sin are bitter and hard to bear, and they must accompany man so long as life lasts. To suffer and to endure, therefore, is the lot of humanity; let them strive as they may, no strength and no artifice will ever succeed in banishing from human life the ills and troubles which beset it. If any there are who pretend differently — who hold out to a hard-pressed people the boon of freedom from pain and trouble, an undisturbed repose, and constant enjoyment — they delude the people and impose upon them, and their lying promises will only one day bring forth evils worse than the present. Nothing is more useful than to look upon the world as it really is, and at the same time to seek elsewhere, as We have said, for the solace to its troubles.
19. The great mistake made in regard to the matter now under consideration is to take up with the notion that class is naturally hostile to class, and that the wealthy and the working men are intended by nature to live in mutual conflict. So irrational and so false is this view that the direct contrary is the truth. Just as the symmetry of the human frame is the result of the suitable arrangement of the different parts of the body, so in a State is it ordained by nature that these two classes should dwell in harmony and agreement, so as to maintain the balance of the body politic. Each needs the other: capital cannot do without labor, nor labor without capital. Mutual agreement results in the beauty of good order, while perpetual conflict necessarily produces confusion and savage barbarity. Now, in preventing such strife as this, and in uprooting it, the efficacy of Christian institutions is marvelous and manifold. First of all, there is no intermediary more powerful than religion (whereof the Church is the interpreter and guardian) in drawing the rich and the working class together, by reminding each of its duties to the other, and especially of the obligations of justice. (Pope Leo XIII, Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891.)
In other words, Catholicism is the sole source of human sanctification and the legitimate teacher of men, and thus possesses the sole ability to provide the foundation for a social order that can be as just as possible in a world filled with fallen men, a point that Pope Pius XI reiterated in his encyclical letter commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the issuance of Rerum Novarum, Quadregesimo Anno, May 15, 1931:
127. Yet, if we look into the matter more carefully and more thoroughly, we shall clearly perceive that, preceding this ardently desired social restoration, there must be a renewal of the Christian spirit, from which so many immersed in economic life have, far and wide, unhappily fallen away, lest all our efforts be wasted and our house be builded not on a rock but on shifting sand.
128. And so, Venerable Brethren and Beloved Sons, having surveyed the present economic system, We have found it laboring under the gravest of evils. We have also summoned Communism and Socialism again to judgment and have found all their forms, even the most modified, to wander far from the precepts of the Gospel.
129. "Wherefore," to use the words of Our Predecessor, "if human society is to be healed, only a return to Christian life and institutions will heal it." For this alone can provide effective remedy for that excessive care for passing things that is the origin of all vices; and this alone can draw away men's eyes, fascinated by and wholly fixed on the changing things of the world, and raise them toward Heaven. Who would deny that human society is in most urgent need of this cure now?
130. Minds of all, it is true, are affected almost solely by temporal upheavals, disasters, and calamities. But if we examine things critically with Christian eyes, as we should, what are all these compared with the loss of souls? Yet it is not rash by any means to say that the whole scheme of social and economic life is now such as to put in the way of vast numbers of mankind most serious obstacles which prevent them from caring for the one thing necessary; namely, their eternal salvation. (Pope Pius XI, Quadragesimo Anno, May 15, 1931.)
Most men today are more concerned about the acquisition or possible loss of wealth once attained than they are about their immortal souls as they have “excessive care passing things that” are “the origin of all vices.” Only the true Faitih can draw “men’s eyes, fascinated by and wholly fixated on the changing things of the world, and raise them toward Heaven.” Unfortunately, most men today, including many Catholics, do indeed deny that human society is in urgent need of the remedy that only Holy Mother Church can provide. Men who believe that they are descended from apes will come to act like them over the course of time. The ideology of biological evolutionism leads inexorably to the devolution of men and their societies into conditions of chaos, violence and the worst kind of self-seeking that the world has ever seen.
Pope Pius XI also explained in the degree of degradation to which men must fall once they are fixed on temporal goals to the exclusion of all supernatural considerations.
131. We, made Shepherd and Protector by the Prince of Shepherds, Who Redeemed them by His Blood, of a truly innumerable flock, cannot hold back Our tears when contemplating this greatest of their dangers. Nay rather, fully mindful of Our pastoral office and with paternal solicitude, We are continually meditating on how We can help them; and We have summoned to Our aid the untiring zeal of others who are concerned on grounds of justice or charity. For what will it profit men to become expert in more wisely using their wealth, even to gaining the whole world, if thereby they suffer the loss of their souls? What will it profit to teach them sound principles of economic life if in unbridled and sordid greed they let themselves be swept away by their passion for property, so that "hearing the commandments of the Lord they do all things contrary."
32. The root and font of this defection in economic and social life from the Christian law, and of the consequent apostasy of great numbers of workers from the Catholic faith, are the disordered passions of the soul, the sad result of original sin which has so destroyed the wonderful harmony of man's faculties that, easily led astray by his evil desires, he is strongly incited to prefer the passing goods of this world to the lasting goods of Heaven. Hence arises that unquenchable thirst for riches and temporal goods, which has at all times impelled men to break God's laws and trample upon the rights of their neighbors, but which, on account of the present system of economic life, is laying far more numerous snares for human frailty. Since the instability of economic life, and especially of its structure, exacts of those engaged in it most intense and unceasing effort, some have become so hardened to the stings of conscience as to hold that they are allowed, in any manner whatsoever, to increase their profits and use means, fair or foul, to protect their hard-won wealth against sudden changes of fortune. The easy gains that a market unrestricted by any law opens to everybody attracts large numbers to buying and selling goods, and they, their one aim being to make quick profits with the least expenditure of work, raise or lower prices by their uncontrolled business dealings so rapidly according to their own caprice and greed that they nullify the wisest forecasts of producers. The laws passed to promote corporate business, while dividing and limiting the risk of business, have given occasion to the most sordid license. For We observe that consciences are little affected by this reduced obligation of accountability; that furthermore, by hiding under the shelter of a joint name, the worst of injustices and frauds are penetrated; and that, too, directors of business companies, forgetful of their trust, betray the rights of those whose savings they have undertaken to administer. Lastly, We must not omit to mention those crafty men who, wholly unconcerned about any honest usefulness of their work, do not scruple to stimulate the baser human desires and, when they are aroused, use them for their own profit. (Pope Pius XI, Quadregesimo Anno, May 15, 1931.)
The world us continues to fall deeper and deeper into the abyss because most men alive today are controlled by the forces of the world, the flesh and the devil, ignoring any thought of divinely-revealed truths and a single means by which their actions may be rendered meritorious in the sight of God and thus redound to their eternal salvation. Even most Catholics rush headlong to one side or the other of the false opposites of naturalism and refuse to consider the simple truth that to see the world as it truly as it is we must see it exclusively through the eyes of the Holy Faith. The only kind of “realism” is Catholic realism, Catholic truth. Everything else is but an illusion, a mirage.
Pope Pius XI’s Divini Redemptoris, March 19, 1937, continued the fifty-nine year-old papal condemnation of socialism that began with Pope Leo XIII in 1878 and explained yet again that socialism and communism are but the products of failure of liberalism and laicism. Indeed, the social consequences of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King are vast, starting with the destruction of the family, which has been rent asunder by divorce and contraception and feminism and materialism and positivism and utilitarianism and the organized forces of naturalism. The atomistic individualism of Calvinist capitalism and Lockean liberalism thus produce the same sort of societies as that produced by all forms Socialism, including that wrought by Bolshevism:
Communism, moreover, strips man of his liberty, robs human personality of all its dignity, and removes all the moral restraints that check the eruptions of blind impulse. There is no recognition of any right of the individual in his relations to the collectivity; no natural right is accorded to human personality, which is a mere cog-wheel in the Communist system. In man's relations with other individuals, besides, Communists hold the principle of absolute equality, rejecting all hierarchy and divinely-constituted authority, including the authority of parents. What men call authority and subordination is derived from the community as its first and only font. Nor is the individual granted any property rights over material goods or the means of production, for inasmuch as these are the source of further wealth, their possession would give one man power over another. Precisely on this score, all forms of private property must be eradicated, for they are at the origin of all economic enslavement .
Refusing to human life any sacred or spiritual character, such a doctrine logically makes of marriage and the family a purely artificial and civil institution, the outcome of a specific economic system. There exists no matrimonial bond of a juridico-moral nature that is not subject to the whim of the individual or of the collectivity. Naturally, therefore, the notion of an indissoluble marriage-tie is scouted. Communism is particularly characterized by the rejection of any link that binds woman to the family and the home, and her emancipation is proclaimed as a basic principle. She is withdrawn from the family and the care of her children, to be thrust instead into public life and collective production under the same conditions as man. The care of home and children then devolves upon the collectivity. Finally, the right of education is denied to parents, for it is conceived as the exclusive prerogative of the community, in whose name and by whose mandate alone parents may exercise this right.
What would be the condition of a human society based on such materialistic tenets? It would be a collectivity with no other hierarchy than that of the economic system. It would have only one mission: the production of material things by means of collective labor, so that the goods of this world might be enjoyed in a paradise where each would "give according to his powers" and would "receive according to his needs." Communism recognizes in the collectivity the right, or rather, unlimited discretion, to draft individuals for the labor of the collectivity with no regard for their personal welfare; so that even violence could be legitimately exercised to dragoon the recalcitrant against their wills. In the Communistic commonwealth morality and law would be nothing but a derivation of the existing economic order, purely earthly in origin and unstable in character. In a word. the Communists claim to inaugurate a new era and a new civilization which is the result of blind evolutionary forces culminating in a humanity without God. (Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, March 19, 1937.)
A world devoid of God and of submission to His true Church is the only possible consequence of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ King. Naturalist liberals disagree with naturalist socialists, including communists, only about a few details. All forms of naturalism produce the godless world, which makes possible barbarism in "liberal" states and totalitarianism in "socialist" states. Indeed, the degree to which men fall into the naturalist trap will be the degree to which all states, liberal and socialist, get to increase their power over the lives of ordinary citizens in the name of "law and order" and "national security," you understand. The heresy of religious liberty makes it impossible for anyone to find any one overarching means by which social evils can be retarded, resulting in a new caste of dictators whose "infallible" pronouncements must be accepted without criticism or dissent. The First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, for example, eviscerates the First Commandment by stating unequivocally that no religion, including the Catholic Faith, must be recognized by the civil state as indispensable for personal and social order, thus resulting in the triumph of the false religion of statism. A neat little trick of the devil, wouldn't you say?
Pope Pius XI alluded to some of these points in Divini Redemptoris:
But the enemies of the Church, though forced to acknowledge the wisdom of her doctrine, accuse her of having failed to act in conformity with her principles, and from this conclude to the necessity of seeking other solutions. The utter falseness and injustice of this accusation is shown by the whole history of Christianity. To refer only to a single typical trait, it was Christianity that first affirmed the real and universal brotherhood of all men of whatever race and condition. This doctrine she proclaimed by a method, and with an amplitude and conviction, unknown to preceding centuries; and with it she potently contributed to the abolition of slavery. Not bloody revolution, but the inner force of her teaching made the proud Roman matron see in her slave a sister in Christ. It is Christianity that adores the Son of God, made Man for love of man, and become not only the "Son of a Carpenter" but Himself a "Carpenter." It was Christianity that raised manual labor to its true dignity, whereas it had hitherto been so despised that even the moderate Cicero did not hesitate to sum up the general opinion of his time in words of which any modern sociologist would be ashamed: "All artisans are engaged in sordid trades, for there can be nothing ennobling about a workshop."
Faithful to these principles, the Church has given new life to human society. Under her influence arose prodigious charitable organizations, great guilds of artisans and workingmen of every type. These guilds, ridiculed as "medieval" by the liberalism of the last century, are today claiming the admiration of our contemporaries in many countries who are endeavoring to revive them in some modern form. And when other systems hindered her work and raised obstacles to the salutary influence of the Church, she was never done warning them of their error. We need but recall with what constant firmness and energy Our Predecessor, Leo XIII, vindicated for the workingman the right to organize, which the dominant liberalism of the more powerful States relentlessly denied him. Even today the authority of this Church doctrine is greater than it seems; for the influence of ideas in the realm of facts, though invisible and not easily measured, is surely of predominant importance.
It may be said in all truth that the Church, like Christ, goes through the centuries doing good to all. There would be today neither Socialism nor Communism if the rulers of the nations had not scorned the teachings and maternal warnings of the Church. On the bases of liberalism and laicism they wished to build other social edifices which, powerful and imposing as they seemed at first, all too soon revealed the weakness of their foundations, and today are crumbling one after another before our eyes, as everything must crumble that is not grounded on the one corner stone which is Christ Jesus.
This, Venerable Brethren, is the doctrine of the Church, which alone in the social as in all other fields can offer real light and assure salvation in the face of Communistic ideology. But this doctrine must be consistently reduced to practice in every-day life, according to the admonition of St. James the Apostle: "Be ye doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves." The most urgent need of the present day is therefore the energetic and timely application of remedies which will effectively ward off the catastrophe that daily grows more threatening. We cherish the firm hope that the fanaticism with which the sons of darkness work day and night at their materialistic and atheistic propaganda will at least serve the holy purpose of stimulating the sons of light to a like and even greater zeal for the honor of the Divine Majesty. (Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, March 19, 1937.)
There can be room for compromise: socialism is as antithetical to a just order on true Christian principles as are all forms of political ideology, including liberalism and conservatism.
Yet it is that the conciliar “popes,” starting with Angelo Roncalli/John XIII in Pacem in Terris, April 11, 1963, who, without precisely saying so, backed away from Pope Pius XI’s statement that no one could a sincere Catholic and a true socialist and from Pope Pius XI’s 1937 admonition against all association and cooperation with communism that was reiterated by the Holy Office under Pope Pius XII in 1949 (see Appendix A below):
159. It is, therefore, especially to the point to make a clear distinction between false philosophical teachings regarding the nature, origin, and destiny of the universe and of man, and movements which have a direct bearing either on economic and social questions, or cultural matters or on the organization of the state, even if these movements owe their origin and inspiration to these false tenets. While the teaching once it has been clearly set forth is no longer subject to change, the movements, precisely because they take place in the midst of changing conditions, are readily susceptible of change. Besides, who can deny that those movements, in so far as they conform to the dictates of right reason and are interpreters of the lawful aspirations of the human person, contain elements that are positive and deserving of approval?
160. For these reasons it can at times happen that meetings for the attainment of some practical results which previously seemed completely useless now are either actually useful or may be looked upon as profitable for the future. But to decide whether this moment has arrived, and also to lay down the ways and degrees in which work in common might be possible for the achievement of economic, social, cultural, and political ends which are honorable and useful: these are the problems which can only be solved with the virtue of prudence, which is the guiding light of the virtues that regulate the moral life, both individual and social. Therefore, as far as Catholics are concerned, this decision rests primarily with those who live and work in the specific sectors of human society in which those problems arise, always, however, in accordance with the principles of the natural law, with the social doctrine of the church, and with the directives of ecclesiastical authorities. For it must not be forgotten that the Church has the right and the duty not only to safeguard the principles of ethics and religion, but also to intervene authoritatively with Her children in the temporal sphere, when there is a question of judging the application of those principles to concrete cases. (Angelo Roncalli/John XIII, Pacem in Terris, April 11, 1963.)
Roncalli/John XXIII’s handpicked successor, Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Montini/Paul VI, began the push in the direction of socialism and a “World Fund” in its infamous “encyclical” letter of March 25, 1967, Populorum Progressio, which is a magna carta, if you will, for Jorge the Red, and endorsed what he called the "preferential option for the poor" when addressing the CELAM conference on August 24, 1968, in Medellin, Colombia and when he issued Octagesima Adveniens, May 15, 1971:
23. Through the statement of the rights of man and the seeking for international agreements for the application of these rights, progress has been made towards inscribing these two aspirations in deeds and structures (16). Nevertheless various forms of discrimination continually reappear-ethnic cultural, religious, political and so on. In fact, human rights are still too often disregarded, if not scoffed at, or else they receive only formal recognition. In many cases legislation does not keep up with real situations. Legislation is necessary, but it is not sufficient for setting up true relationships of justice and equity. In teaching us charity, the Gospel instructs us in the preferential respect due to the poor and the special situation they have in society: the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others. If, beyond legal rules, there is really no deeper feeling of respect for and service to others, then even equality before the law can serve as an alibi for flagrant discrimination, continued exploitation and actual contempt. Without a renewed education in solidarity, an overemphasis of equality can give rise to an individualism in which each one claims his own rights without wishing to be answerable for the common good.
In this field, everyone sees the highly important contribution of the Christian spirit, which moreover answers man's yearning to be loved. "Love for man, the prime value of the earthly order" ensures the conditions for peace, both social peace and international peace, by affirming our universal brotherhood (17). (Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini/Paul VI, Octagesima Adveniens, May 15, 1971.)
This was nothing other than an attempt to graft a Marxist diatribe onto the Gospel of the Divine Redeemer, Christ the King, and it had nothing to do with commemorating the eightieth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, May 15, 1891.
Love for "man, the prime value of the earthly order," not love of Christ the King as He has revealed Himself to us exclusively through His true Church, the Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation and without which there can be no true social order.
"Love for man," of course is one of the chief tenets of Marxism, something that the late Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn noted at his famous commencement address at Harvard University on June 8, 1978, just fifty-nine days before the earthly demise of Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria/Paul VI:
As humanism in its development became more and more materialistic, it made itself increasingly accessible to speculation and manipulation at first by socialism and then by communism. So that Karl Marx was able to say in 1844 that "communism is naturalized humanism.'
This statement turned out not to be entirely senseless. One does see the same stones in the foundations of a despiritualized humanism and of any type of socialism: endless materialism; freedom from religion and religious responsibility, which under communist regimes reach the stage of anti-religious dictatorship; concentration on social structures with a seemingly scientific approach. (This is typical of the Enlightenment in the Eighteenth Century and of Marxism). Not by coincidence all of communism's meaningless pledges and oaths are about Man, with a capital M, and his earthly happiness. At first glance it seems an ugly parallel: common traits in the thinking and way of life of today's West and today's East? But such is the logic of materialistic development.
The interrelationship is such, too, that the current of materialism which is most to the left always ends up by being stronger, more attractive and victorious, because it is more consistent. Humanism without its Christian heritage cannot resist such competition. We watch this process in the past centuries and especially in the past decades, on a world scale as the situation becomes increasingly dramatic. Liberalism was inevitably displaced by radicalism, radicalism had to surrender to socialism and socialism could never resist communism. The communist regime in the East could stand and grow due to the enthusiastic support from an enormous number of Western intellectuals who felt a kinship and refused to see communism's crimes. When they no longer could do so, they tried to justify them. In our Eastern countries, communism has suffered a complete ideological defeat; it is zero and less than zero. But Western intellectuals still look at it with interest and with empathy, and this is precisely what makes it so immensely difficult for the West to withstand the East. (Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart. June 8, 1978.)
Solzhenitsyn, who is should be pointed out, was a Russian nationalist and thus had a bias against the Catholic Church and her teaching authority, especially as pertains to Papal Primacy and to her constant condemnation of contraception, which he, Solzhenitsyn supported in the name of “population control,” explained forty-one years that his condemnation of socialism did not mean that he could recommend the Western culture of consumerism and materialism as the model for his own country should Communism end there (as it supposedly did on December 25, 1992, as the flag of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was lowered and the tri-color flag of Russia was raised up a flagpole in its place):
But should someone ask me whether I would indicate the West such as it is today as a model to my country, frankly I would have to answer negatively. No, I could not recommend your society in its present state as an ideal for the transformation of ours. Through intense suffering our country has now achieved a spiritual development of such intensity that the Western system in its present state of spiritual exhaustion does not look attractive. Even those characteristics of your life which I have just mentioned are extremely saddening.
A fact which cannot be disputed is the weakening of human beings in the West while in the East they are becoming firmer and stronger -- 60 years for our people and 30 years for the people of Eastern Europe. During that time we have been through a spiritual training far in advance of Western experience. Life's complexity and mortal weight have produced stronger, deeper, and more interesting characters than those generally [produced] by standardized Western well-being.
Therefore, if our society were to be transformed into yours, it would mean an improvement in certain aspects, but also a change for the worse on some particularly significant scores. It is true, no doubt, that a society cannot remain in an abyss of lawlessness, as is the case in our country. But it is also demeaning for it to elect such mechanical legalistic smoothness as you have. After the suffering of many years of violence and oppression, the human soul longs for things higher, warmer, and purer than those offered by today's mass living habits, introduced by the revolting invasion of publicity, by TV stupor, and by intolerable music.
There are meaningful warnings which history gives a threatened or perishing society. Such are, for instance, the decadence of art, or a lack of great statesmen. There are open and evident warnings, too. The center of your democracy and of your culture is left without electric power for a few hours only, and all of a sudden crowds of American citizens start looting and creating havoc. The smooth surface film must be very thin, then, the social system quite unstable and unhealthy.
But the fight for our planet, physical and spiritual, a fight of cosmic proportions, is not a vague matter of the future; it has already started. The forces of Evil have begun their offensive; you can feel their pressure, and yet your screens and publications are full of prescribed smiles and raised glasses. What is the joy about? (Dr. Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, A World Split Apart, June 8, 1978, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts .)
The Nobel Laureate gave this address nearly eleven months after riots had broken out in the Borough of Brooklyn in the City of New York, New York, when the inept utility company, Consolidated Edison, suffered an outage at a power plant in Astoria in the Borough of Queens on Wednesday, July 13, 1977. Solzhenitsyn was saying in his address, in effect, that Americans are in trouble if the only thing keeping the masses from rioting and looting is Consolidated Edison, known colloquially in New York and environs as “Con Ed.”
Neither liberalism or its variants nor socialism and its variants are the foundation of social order. Catholicism, though not a guarantor of order given the vagaries of fallen human nature, is alone the only means that can provide men and their nations with the foundation for a just social order.
The “squad” in the United States of America and their compatriots around the world, including the Argentine Apostate who is an occupant of the Casa Santa Marta, are but the product of a false conflict between different sides of the same anti-Incarnational, naturalistic and Pelagian coin, something that has been noted several times previously in this commentary and touched upon by Father Edward Leen, S.J., in The Holy Ghost:
A shudder of apprehension is traversing the world which still retains its loyalty to Jesus expressing Himself through the authority of His Church. That apprehension has not its sole cause the sight of the horrors that the world has witnessed in recent years in both hemispheres. Many Christians are beginning to feel that perhaps all may not be right with themselves. There is solid reason for this fear. The contemplation of the complete and reasoned abandonment of all hitherto accepted human values that has taken place in Russia and is taking place elsewhere, causes a good deal of anxious soul-searching. It is beginning to be dimly perceived that in social life, as it is lived, even in countries that have not as yet definitely broken with Christianity, there lie all the possibilities of what has become actual in Bolshevism. A considerable body of Christians, untrained in the Christian philosophy of life, are allowing themselves to absorb principles which undermine the constructions of Christian thought. They do not realise how much dangerous it is for Christianity to exist in an atmosphere of Naturalism than to be exposed to positive persecution. In the old days of the Roman Empire those who enrolled themselves under the standard of Christ saw, with logical clearness, that they had perforce to cut themselves adrift from the social life of the world in which they lived--from its tastes, practices and amusements. The line of demarcation between pagan and Christian life was sharp, clearly defined and obvious. Modern Christians have not been so favorably situated. As has been stated already, the framework of the Christian social organisation has as yet survived. This organisation is, to outward appearances, so solid and imposing that it is easy to be blind to the truth that the soul had gradually gone out of it. Under the shelter and utilising the resources of the organisation of life created by Christianity, customs, ways of conduct, habits of thought, have crept in, more completely perhaps, at variance with the spirit of Christianity than even the ways and manners of pagan Rome.
This infiltration of post-Christian paganism has been steady but slow, and at each stage is imperceptible. The Christian of to-day thinks that he is living in what is to all intents and purposes a Christian civilisation. Without misgivings he follows the current of social life around him. His amusements, his pleasures, his pursuits, his games, his books, his papers, his social and political ideas are of much the same kind as are those of the people with whom he mingles, and who may not have a vestige of a Christian principle left in their minds. He differs merely from them in that he holds to certain definite religious truths and clings to certain definite religious practices. But apart from this there is not any striking contrast in the outward conduct of life between Christian and non-Christian in what is called the civilised world. Catholics are amused by, and interested in, the very same things that appeal to those who have abandoned all belief in God. The result is a growing divorce between religion and life in the soul of the individual Christian. Little by little his faith ceases to be a determining effect on the bulk of his ideas, judgments and decisions that have relation to what he regards as his purely "secular" life. His physiognomy as a social being no longer bears trace of any formative effect of the beliefs he professes. And his faith rapidly becomes a thing of tradition and routine and not something which is looked to as a source of a life that is real.
The Bolshevist Revolution has had one good effect. It has awakened the averagely good Christian to the danger runs in allowing himself to drift with the current of social life about him. It has revealed to him the precipice towards which he has was heading by shaping his worldly career after principles the context of which the revolution has mercilessly exposed and revealed to be at variance with real Christianity. The sincerely religious--and there are many such still--are beginning to realise that if they are to live as Christians they must react violently against the milieu in which they live. It is beginning to be felt that one cannot be a true Christian and live as the bulk of men in civilised society are living. It is clearly seen that "life" is not to be found along those ways by which the vast majority of men are hurrying to disillusionment and despair. Up to the time of the recent cataclysm the average unreflecting Christian dwelt in the comfortable illusion that he could fall in with the ways of the world about him here, and, by holding on to the practices of religion, arrange matters satisfactorily for the hereafter. That illusion is dispelled. It is coming home to the discerning Christian that their religion is not a mere provision for the future. There is a growing conviction that it is only through Christianity lived integrally that the evils of the present time can be remedied and disaster in the time to come averted. (Father Edward Leen, The Holy Ghost, published in 1953 by Sheed and Ward, pp. 6-9.)
Father Leen was overly optimistic about the ability of Catholics to reject the effects of Bolshevism, which have indeed made their way to our own shores (have you noticed?), as he could never have envisioned that Modernists would come up from the underground after the death of Pope Pius XII on October 9, 1958, and effect a coup against the Catholic Church while representing themselves to be Catholics despite the fact that they had expelled themselves from the bosom of Holy Mother Church by their embrace, no less public promotion of, one heretical proposition after another, including an overt "reconciliation" with the principles of Marxism-Leninism. Father Leen did, of course, see very well the dangers in a world shaped by naturalism as it is very easy for Catholics to become so immersed in the world and its distractions and agitations as to lose the sensus Catholicus over the course of time. Thanks to the conciliar revolutionaries, of course, the genuine sensus Catholicus has been destroyed by the effects of the "reconcilation" between Modernism and Modernity.
The very basis of the “reconciliation between the conciliar revolutionaries and “the world” was condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in his encyclical letter condemning The Sillon, August 15, 1910, that prophesied socialism as the only end that could come from the principles that were admired by Father Angelo Roncalli at the time even after their condemnation and were later incorporated into Gaudium et Spes, December 7, 1965, and the “magisteria” of the postconciliar antipopes:
Alas! yes, the double meaning has been broken: the social action of the Sillon is no longer Catholic. The Sillonist, as such, does not work for a coterie, and “the Church”, he says, “cannot in any sense benefit from the sympathies that his action may stimulate.” A strange situation, indeed! They fear lest the Church should profit for a selfish and interested end by the social action of the Sillon, as if everything that benefited the Church did not benefit the whole human race! A curious reversal of notions! The Church might benefit from social action! As if the greatest economists had not recognized and proved that it is social action alone which, if serious and fruitful, must benefit the Church! But stranger still, alarming and saddening at the same time, are the audacity and frivolity of men who call themselves Catholics and dream of re-shaping society under such conditions, and of establishing on earth, over and beyond the pale of the Catholic Church, "the reign of love and justice" with workers coming from everywhere, of all religions and of no religion, with or without beliefs, so long as they forego what might divide them - their religious and philosophical convictions, and so long as they share what unites them - a "generous idealism and moral forces drawn from whence they can" When we consider the forces, knowledge, and supernatural virtues which are necessary to establish the Christian City, and the sufferings of millions of martyrs, and the light given by the Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and the self-sacrifice of all the heroes of charity, and a powerful hierarchy ordained in heaven, and the streams of Divine Grace - the whole having been built up, bound together, and impregnated by the life and spirit of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the Word made man - when we think, I say, of all this, it is frightening to behold new apostles eagerly attempting to do better by a common interchange of vague idealism and civic virtues. What are they going to produce? What is to come of this collaboration? A mere verbal and chimerical construction in which we shall see, glowing in a jumble, and in seductive confusion, the words Liberty, Justice, Fraternity, Love, Equality, and human exultation, all resting upon an ill-understood human dignity. It will be a tumultuous agitation, sterile for the end proposed, but which will benefit the less Utopian exploiters of the people. Yes, we can truly say that the Sillon, its eyes fixed on a chimera, brings Socialism in its train.
We fear that worse is to come: the end result of this developing promiscuousness, the beneficiary of this cosmopolitan social action, can only be a Democracy which will be neither Catholic, nor Protestant, nor Jewish. It will be a religion (for Sillonism, so the leaders have said, is a religion) more universal than the Catholic Church, uniting all men become brothers and comrades at last in the "Kingdom of God". - "We do not work for the Church, we work for mankind."
And now, overwhelmed with the deepest sadness, We ask Ourselves, Venerable Brethren, what has become of the Catholicism of the Sillon? Alas! this organization which formerly afforded such promising expectations, this limpid and impetuous stream, has been harnessed in its course by the modern enemies of the Church, and is now no more than a miserable affluent of the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity,would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer. (Pope Saint Pius X, Notre Charge Apostolique, August 15, 1910.)
What about the sacred rights of the Social Reign of Christ the King?
The world has heard enough of the so-called "rights of man." Let it hear something of the rights of God. That the time is suitable is proved by the very general revival of religious feeling already referred to, and especially that devotion towards Our Saviour of which there are so many indications, and which, please God, we shall hand on to the New Century as a pledge of happier times to come. But as this consummation cannot be hoped for except by the aid of divine grace, let us strive in prayer, with united heart and voice, to incline Almighty God unto mercy, that He would not suffer those to perish whom He had redeemed by His Blood. May He look down in mercy upon this world, which has indeed sinned much, but which has also suffered much in expiation! And, embracing in His loving-kindness all races and classes of mankind, may He remember His own words: "I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things to Myself" (John xii., 32). (Pope Leo XIII, Tametsi Futura Prospicientibus, November 1, 1900.)
Most of the people who are alive today do indeed want to hear about the “rights of man,” and most of those others who profess some kind of generic or inchoate belief in God have no understanding that His own Divine Son made Incarnate in the Virginal and Immaculate Womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary must reign over men and their nations and that every religion other than Catholicism is false and is loathsome in His sight. Moreover, anyone who believes that there can be some “shortcut” to a respite from the conflicts that are taking place in the United States of America are badly mistaken as those conflicts are but the logical consequence of the needless divisions among men and nations engendered by the Protestant Revolution’s overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King and the subsequent rise of Judeo-Masonry and all of its naturalist errors, including liberalism and socialism.
Thus, enjoy the Mueller show tomorrow. I will not be watching.
Stay rapt, if you want, to the war drums that his country’s Zionist-controlled leaders are banging against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Ignore, if you prefer, the constant blasphemies and obscenities coming out of the mouth in public by the President of the United States of America and content yourself with the belief that God is not offended by Donald John Trump’s incessant taking of His Holy Name in vain, an exercise that has lowered the bar of public discourse even more than it had been lowered before he started his campaign for the presidency forty-nine months ago.
Nations whose leaders and citizens offend God daily will never know His favor.
Nations whose laws and policies permit the daily slaughter of the innocent preborn by chemical and surgical means and whose healthcare system, such as it is, is ready to pull the plug on anyone at any age who is deemed to be suffering from a diminished “quality of life” can never know anything but and escalating level of conflict that will result in open civil war sooner or later.
Nations whose citizens live principally, if not exclusively, for material well-being and the fulfillment of carnal desires, including the promotion of the sin of Sodom and its related vices, and whose “entertainment” industry is devoted to an increase in debauchery and indecency will be chastised beyond which anything that has heretofore been seen in human history.
Nations whose scientists are playing God by creating human-animal hybrids in laboratories, some of which are taxpayer-funded, others of which are funded by multinational corporations, and who are busy working on “artificial intelligence” projects, including “intelligent” robots, will let loose the plagues prophesied by Saint John the Evangelist in the Book of the Apocalypse.
Enjoy the sideshows.
Rend your comments.
Live in histrionics and agitation.
These are your choices.
Catholics are not called to live in the muck and mire produced by errors aplenty.
We must be about the business of making reparation for our sins by offering up the sufferings of this moment, which include this moment of apostasy and betrayal that makes it appear that an open heretic is able to “change” Catholic teaching and which includes also rank enemies of the true Church in public life, by recognizing yet again that this is the time that God Himself has from all eternity ordained us to live. What is a little suffering in this life compared with eternal glory in the next?
We must live high the Cross of the Divine Redeemer in all that we do as we carry about us the banner of Christ the King, offering everything we suffer to the Throne of the Most Blessed Trinity as the consecrated slaves of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, remembering that the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is our shield and that her Most Holy Rosary is our weapon against all the enemies of our salvation personally, including the assaults of the lords of Modernity and those of the lords of Modernism.
These words of Pope Leo XIII, contained in Laetitiae Sanctae, September 8, 1893, should inspire us all in these times of such tribulation and tumult:
13. But men of carnal mind, who love nothing but themselves, allow their thoughts to grovel upon things of earth until they are unable to lift them to that which is higher. For, far from using the goods of time as a help towards securing those which are eternal, they lose sight altogether of the world which is to come, and sink to the lowest depths of degradation. We may doubt if God could inflict upon man a more terrible punishment than to allow him to waste his whole life in the pursuit of earthly pleasures, and in forgetfulness of the happiness which alone lasts for ever.
14. It is from this danger that they will be happily rescued, who, in the pious practice of the Rosary, are wont, by frequent and fervent prayer, to keep before their minds the glorious mysteries. These mysteries are the means by which in the soul of a Christian a most clear light is shed upon the good things, hidden to sense, but visible to faith, "which God has prepared for those who love Him." From them we learn that death is not an annihilation which ends all things, but merely a migration and passage from life to life. By them we are taught that the path to Heaven lies open to all men, and as we behold Christ ascending thither, we recall the sweet words of His promise, "I go to prepare a place for you." By them we are reminded that a time will come when "God will wipe away every tear from our eyes," and that "neither mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow, shall be any more," and that "We shall be always with the Lord," and "like to the Lord, for we shall see Him as He is," and "drink of the torrent of His delight," as "fellow-citizens of the saints," in the blessed companionship of our glorious Queen and Mother. Dwelling upon such a prospect, our hearts are kindled with desire, and we exclaim, in the words of a great saint, "How vile grows the earth when I look up to heaven!" Then, too, shall we feel the solace of the assurance "that which is at present momentary and light of our tribulation worketh for us above measure exceedingly an eternal weight of glory" (2 Cor. iv., 17).
15. Here alone we discover the true relation between time and eternity, between our life on earth and our life in heaven; and it is thus alone that are formed strong and noble characters. When such characters can be counted in large numbers, the dignity and well-being of society are assured. All that is beautiful, good, and true will flourish in the measure of its conformity to Him who is of all beauty, goodness, and truth the first Principle and the Eternal Source. (Pope Leo XIII, Laetitiae Sanctae, September 8, 1893.)
The final victory belongs to the Immaculate Heart of Mary when a true pope is restored miraculously to the Throne of Saint Peter and fulfills her Fatima Message by consecrating Russia to it with all of the world’s true bishops. Our mission now is to try, despite our sins and failings, to plant a few seeds that will result in this triumph.
The errors of Modernity, including all forms of naturalism, and Modernism will be defeated.
We are soldiers in the Army of Christ the King.
Let us use the shield of the Brown Scapular and the weapon of the Holy Rosary to vanquish the foes of our own salvation and of the Holy Faith in the world-at-large and in the places that belong to the Catholic Church occupied now by brigands.
What are we waiting for?
Immaculate Heart of Mary, triumph soon!
Isn't it time to pray a Rosary now?
Viva Cristo Rey!
Our Lady of the Rosary, pray for us, pray for us!
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint John the Evangelist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.
Saints Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, pray for us.
Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us.
Saint Apollinaris, pray for us.
Saint Liborius, pray for us.
Papal Condemnations of Communism
Writing in Divini Redemptoris, which was issued on March 19, 1937, two days after he had issued his firm denunciation of Nazism, Mit Brennender Sorge, Pope Pius XI forbade Catholics to provide any kind of cooperation with Communism at any time for any reason:
See to it, Venerable Brethren, that the Faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived! Communism is intrinsically wrong, and no one who would save Christian civilization may collaborate with it in any undertaking whatsoever. Those who permit themselves to be deceived into lending their aid towards the triumph of Communism in their own country, will be the first to fall victims of their error. And the greater the antiquity and grandeur of the Christian civilization in the regions where Communism successfully penetrates, so much more devastating will be the hatred displayed by the godless. (Pope Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, March 19, 1937.)
This condemnation of any kind of cooperation with Communism was reinterred by the Holy Office on July 1, 1949, the Feast of the Most Precious Blood of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, under the pontificate of our last true pope, Pope Pius XII:
This Sacred Supreme Congregation has been asked:
1. whether it is lawful to join Communist Parties or to favour them;
2. whether it is lawful to publish, disseminate, or read books, periodicals, newspapers or leaflets which support the teaching or action of Communists, or to write in them;
3. whether the faithful who knowingly and freely perform the acts specified in questions 1 and 2 may be admitted to the Sacraments;
4. whether the faithful who profess the materialistic and anti-Christian doctrine of the Communists, and particularly those who defend or propagate this doctrine, contract ipso facto excommunication specially reserved to the Apostolic See as apostates from the Catholic faith.
The Most Eminent and Most Reverend Fathers entrusted with the supervision of matters concerning the safeguarding of Faith and morals, having previously heard the opinion of the Reverend Lords Consultors, decreed in the plenary session held on Tuesday (instead of Wednesday), June 28, 1949, that the answers should be as follows:
To 1. in the negative: because Communism is materialistic and anti-Christian; and the leaders of the Communists, although they sometimes profess in words that they do not oppose religion, do in fact show themselves, both in their teaching and in their actions, to be the enemies of God, of the true religion and of the Church of Christ; to 2. in the negative: they are prohibited ipso iure (cf. Can. 1399 of the Codex Iuris Canonici); to 3. in the negative, in accordance with the ordinary principles concerning the refusal of the Sacraments to those who are not disposed; to 4. in the affirmative.
And the following Thursday, on the 30th day of the same month and year, Our Most Holy Lord Pius XII, Pope by the Divine Providence, in the ordinary audience, granted to the Most Eminent and Most Reverend Assessor of the Sacred Office, approved of the decision of the Most Eminent Fathers which had been reported to Him, and ordered the same to be promulgated officially in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Given at Rome, on July 1st, 1949. (As found at Decree Against Communism.)
William Cobbett on the Plunder of the Catholic Church and the Rise of Pauperism in England under King Henry VIII
183. If I look at the county of Surrey, in which I myself was born, and behold the devastation of that county, I am filled with indignation against the ruffian devastators. Surrey has very little of natural wealth in it. A very considerable part of it is mere heath-land. Yet this county was, from one end of it to the other, ornamented and benefited by the establishments which grew out of the Catholic Church. At Bermondsey there was an abbey; at St. Mary Overy there was a priory, and this convent founded that very St. Thomas’s Hospital which now exists in Southwark. This hospital also was seized by the ruffians, but the building was afterwards given to the City of London. At Newington there was a hospital, and after its revenues were seized the master obtained a licence to beg! At Merton there was a priory. Then, going across to the Sussex side, there was another priory at Reigate. Coming again near the Thames, and more to the west, there was a priory at Shene. Still more to the west there was an abbey at Chertsey. At Tandridge there was a priory. Near Guildford, at Sende, there was a priory; and at the lower end of the county, at Waverley, in the parish of Farnham, was an abbey. To these belonged cells and chapels at a distance from the convents themselves; so that it would have been a work of some difficulty for a man so to place himself, even in this poor heathy county, at six miles distance from a place where the door of hospitality was always open to the poor, to the aged, the orphan, the widow and the stranger. Can any man now place himself, in that whole county, within any number of miles of any such door? No, nor in any other county. All is wholly changed, and all is changed for the worse. There is now no hospitality in England. Words have changed their meaning. We now give entertainment to those who entertain us in return. We entertain people because we like them personally, and very seldom because they stand in need of entertainment. A hospital, in those days, meant a place of free entertainment, and not a place merely for the lame, the sick, and the blind; and the very sound of the words "Old English Hospitality" ought to raise a blush on every Protestant cheek. But besides this hospitality exercised invariably in the monasteries, the weight of their example was great with all the opulent classes of the community, and thus to be generous and kind was the character of the nation at large; a niggardly, a base, a money-loving disposition could not be in fashion, when those institutions to which all men looked with reverence set an example which condemned such a disposition.
184. And if I am asked why the thirteen monks of Waverley, for instance, should have had And I may go on and ask why anybody should have any property at all? Aye, but they never worked; they did nothing to increase the nation's store. Let us see how this is. They possessed the lands of Waverley, — a few hundred acres of very poor land, with a mill, and perhaps about twenty acres of very indifferent meadow land, on one part of which, sheltered by a semicircle of sand-hills, their abbey stood, the river Wey (about twenty feet wide) running close by the outer wall of the convent.
Besides this they possessed the impropriated tithes of the parish of Farnham, and a pond or two on the commons adjoining. This estate in land belongs to a Mr. Thompson, who lives on the spot, and the estate in tithes to a Mr. Halsey, who lives at a distance from the parish. Now, without any disparagement to these gentlemen, did not the monks work as much as they do? Did not their revenue go to augment the nation's store as much as the rents of Mr. Thompson or the tithes of Mr. Halsey? Aye, and which is of vast importance, the poor of the parish of Farnham, having this monastery to apply to and having for their neighbour a bishop of Winchester who did not sell small beer out of his palace, stood in no need of poor rates, and had never heard the horrid word pauper pronounced. Come, my townsmen of Farnham; you who as well as 1 have, when we were boys, climbed the ivy-covered ruins of this venerable abbey (the first of its order in England; you who as well as I have, when looking at those walls which have outlived the memory of the devastators, bat not the malice of those who still taste the sweets of the devastation; you who, as well as I, have many times wondered what an abbey was, and how and why this one came to be devastated; you shall be the judge in this matter. You know what poor-rates are, and you know what church-rates are. Very well then, there were no poor-rates and no church-rates as long as Waverley Abbey existed and as long as bishops had no wives. This is a fact wholly undeniable. There was no need of either. The Church shared its property with the poor and the stranger, and left the people at large to possess their own earnings; and as to matters of faith and worship, look at that immense heap of earth round the church where your parents and my parents and where our progenitors for twelve hundred years lie buried; then bear in mind that for nine hundred years out of the twelve they were all of the faith and worship of the monks of Waverley, and with that thought in your mind find, if you can, the heart to say that the monks of Waverley, by whose hospitality your fathers and my fathers were for so many ages preserved from bearing the hateful name of pauper, taught an idolatrous and damnable religion.
185. That which took place in Surrey took place in every other county, only to a greater extent in proportion to the greater wealth and resources of the spot. Defacing followed closely upon the heels of confiscation and plunder. If buildings could have been murdered, the tyrant and his plunderers would have made short work of it. As it was they did all they could; they knocked down, they blew up, they annihilated as far as they could. Nothing, indeed, short of diabolical malice was to be expected from such men; but there were two abbeys in England which one might have hoped that even these monsters would have spared, — that which contained the tomb of St. Austin, and that which had been founded by and contained the remains of Alfred. We have seen how they rifled the tomb of St. Austin at Canterbury. They tore down the church and the abbey, and with the materials built a menagerie for wild beasts and a palace for the tyrant himself. The tomb of Alfred was in an abbey at Winchester, founded by that king himself. The abbey and its estates were given by the tyrant to Wriothesley, who was afterwards made Earl of Southampton, and who got a pretty good share of the confiscations in Hampshire. One almost sickens at the thought of a man capable of a deed like the destruction of this abbey. Where is there one amongst us who has read any thing at all who has not read of the fame of Alfred? What book can we open, even for our boyish days, that does not sound his praise? Poets, moralists, divines, historians, philosophers, lawyers, legislators, not only of our own country but of all Europe, have cited him, and still cite him, as a model of virtue, piety, wisdom, valour and patriotism, as possessing every excellence without a single fault. He, in spite of difficulties such as no other human being on record ever encountered, cleared his harassed and half-barbarized country of horde after horde of cruel invaders, who at one time had wholly subdued it and compelled him, in order to escape destruction, to resort to the habit and the life of a herdsman. From this state of depression he, during a not long life, raised himself and his people to the highest point of happiness and of fame. He fought, with his armies and fleets, more than fifty battles against the enemies of England. He taught his people by his example as well as by his precepts, to be sober, industrious, brave and just. He promoted learning in all the sciences; he planted the University of Oxford; to him, and not to a late Scotch lawyer, belongs " Trial by Jury." Blackstone calls him the founder of the Common Law; the counties, the hundreds, the tithings, the courts of justice, were the work of Alfred. He, in fact, was the founder of all those rights, liberties and laws which made England to be what England has been, which gave her a character above that of other nations, which made her rich and great and happy beyond all her neighbours, and which still give her whatever she possesses of that pre-eminence. If there be a name under heaven to which Englishmen ought to bow with reverence approaching towards adoration it is the name of Alfred. And we are not unjust and ungrateful in this respect at any rate, for, whether Catholics or Protestants, where is there an Englishman to be found who would not gladly make a pilgrimage of a thousand miles to take off his hat at the tomb of this maker of the English name ? Alas! that tomb is nowhere to be found. The barbarians spared not even that. It was in the abbey before mentioned, called Hyde Abbey, which had been founded by Alfred himself and intended as the place of his burial. Besides the remains of Alfred this abbey contained those of St. Grimbald, the Benedictine monk, whom Alfred brought into England to begin the teaching at Oxford. But what cared the plunderers for remains of public benefactors? The abbey was knocked down or blown up, the tombs were demolished, the very lead of the coffins was sold," and, which fills one with more indignation than all the rest, the estates were so disposed of as to make the loan-makers, the Barings, at this day the successors of Alfred the Great!
186. Wriothesley got the manors of Micheldever and Stratton, which by marriage came into the hands of the family of Russell ; and from that family, about thirty years ago, they were bought by the Barings, and are now in possession of Sir Thomas Baring. It is curious to observe how this Protestant "Reformation" has worked. If it had not been there would have been no paupers at Micheldever and Stratton, but then the Russells would not have had the estates, and they could not have sold them to the Barings: aye, but then there would have been, too, no national debt as well as no paupers, and there would have been no loan-makers to buy the estates of the Russells. Besides this there would have been no bridewell erected upon the precise spot where the abbey church stood; no tread-mill, perhaps over the very place where the ashes of Alfred lay; and, what is more, there would have been no need of bridewell or tread-mill. It is related of Alfred that he made his people so honest that he could hang bracelets up by the way side without danger of their being touched. Alas! that the descendants of that same people should need a tread-mill! Aye, but in the days of Alfred there were no paupers, no miserable creatures compelled to labour from month's end to month's end without seeing meat, no thousands upon thousands made thieves by that hunger which acknowledges no law, human or divine.
187. Thus then was the country devastated, sacked and defaced; and I should now proceed to give an account of the commencement of that poverty and degradation which were, as I have pledged myself to show, the consequences of this devastation, and which I shall show, not by bare assertion, nor from what are called " Histories of England," but from Acts of Parliament, and from other sources which every one can refer to, and the correctness of which is beyond all dispute. But before we come to this important matter we must see the end of the ruffian "Vice-gerent," and also the end of the tyrant himself, who was, during the events that we have been speaking of, going on marrying and divorcing or killing his wives, but whose career was, after all, not very long.
188. After the death of Jane. Seymour, who was the mother of Edward VI., and who was the only one of all the tyrant's wives who had the good luck to die a queen and to die in her bed ; — after her death, which took place in 1537, he was nearly two years hunting up another wife. None certainly but some very gross and unfeeling woman could be expected to have voluntarily anything to do with a man whose hands were continually steeped in blood. In 1539 he found, however, a mate in Anne, the sister of the Duke of Cleves. When she arrived in England he expressed his dislike of her person ; but he found it prudent to marry her. In 1540, about six or seven months after the marriage, he was divorced from her, not daring in this case to set his myrmidons to work to bring her to the block. There was no lawful pretence for the divorce. The husband did not like his wife; that was all, and this was alleged, too, as the ground of the divorce." Cranmer, who had divorced him from two wives before, put his irons into the fire again for this occasion, and produced in a little time as neat a piece of work as ever had come from the shop of the famous "Reformation." Thus the King and Queen were single people again; but the former had another young and handsome wife in his eye. This lady's name was Catherine Howard, a niece of the Duke of Norfolk. This Duke, as well as most of the old nobility, hated Cromwell, and now was an opportunity of inflicting vengeance on him. Cromwell had been the chief cause of the King's marriage with Anne of Cleves; but the fact is his plundering talent was no longer wanted, and it was convenient to the tyrant to get rid of him.
189. Cromwell had obtained enormous wealth from his several offices, as well as from the plunder of the Church and the poor. He had got about thirty of the estates belonging to the monasteries ; his house, or rather palace, was gorged with the fruits of the sacking; he had been made Earl of Essex; he had precedence over every one but the King; and lie, in fact, represented the King in the Parliament, where he introduced and defended all his confiscating and murdering laws. He had been barbarous beyond all description towards the unfortunate and unoffending monks and nuns ; without such an instrument the plunder never could have been effecte : but he was no longer wanted; the ruffian had already lived too long; the very walls of the devastated convents seemed to call for public vengeance on his head. On the morning of the 10th of June, 1540, he was all-powerful; in the evening of the same day he was in prison as a traitor. He lay in prison only a few days before he had to experience the benefit of his own way of administering justice. He had, as we have seen in the last chapter, invented a way of bringing people to the block or the gallows without giving them any form of trial, without giving them even a hearing, but merely by passing a law to put them to death. This was what he had brought about in the case of the Countess of Salisbury; and this was what was now to fall on his own head. He lived only about forty-eight days after his arrest; not half long enough to enable him to expiate, barely to enumerate, the robberies and murders committed under his orders. His time seems, however, to have been spent, not in praying God to forgive him for these robberies and murders, but in praying to the tyrant to spare his life. Perhaps of all the mean and dastardly wretches that ever died, this was the most mean and dastardly. He who had been the most insolent and cruel of ruffians when he had power, was now the most disgustingly slavish and base. He had, in fact, committed no crime against the King ; though charged with heresy and treason, he was no more a heretic than the King was, and as to the charge of treason there was not a shadow of foundation for it. But he was just as guilty of treason as the abbots of Reading, Colchester and Glastonbury, all of whom and many more he had been the chief instrument in putting to death. He put them to death in order to get possession of their property; and I dare say to get at his property, to get the plunder back from him, was one of the motives for bringing him to the block. This very ruffian had superintended the digging up of the ashes of Thomas a Becket and scattering them in the air; and now the people who had witnessed that had to witness the letting of the blood out of his dirty body, to run upon the pavement to be licked up by hogs or dogs. The cowardly creature seems to have had, from the moment of his arrest, no thought about anything but saving his life. He wrote repeatedly to the King in the hope of getting pardoned, but all to no purpose: he had done what was wanted of him, the work of plunder was nearly over, he had, too, got a large share of the plunder which it was not convenient to leave in his hands; and therefore, upon true "Reformation" principles, it was time to take away his life. He in his letters to the King most vehemently protested his innocence. Aye, no doubt of that; but he was not more innocent than were the butchered abbots and monks, he was not more innocent than any one out of those thousands upon thousands whom he had quartered, hanged, burned, or plundered; and amongst all those thousands upon thousands there never was seen one, female or male, so complete a dastard as himself. In these letters to the tyrant he fawned on him in the most disgusting manner; compared his smiles and frowns to those of God; besought him to suffer him to kiss his balmy hand once more that the fragrance thereof might make him fit for heaven! "The base creature deserved his death, if it had only been for writing these letters. Fox, the "martyr" man, calls this Cromwell the “valiant soldier of the Reformation." Yes, there have been few soldiers to understand sacking better; he was full of valour on foraging parties, and when he had to rifle monks and nuns and to rob altars; a brave fellow when he had to stretch monks and nuns on the rack to make them confess treasonable words or thought ; but when death began to stare him in the face he was, assuredly, the most cowardly caitiff that ever died. It is hardly necessary to say that this man is a great favourite of Hume, who deeply laments Cromwell's fate, though he has not a word of compassion to bestow upon all the thousands that had been murdered or ruined by him. He, as well as other historians, quotes from the conclusion of one of Cromwell's letters to the King these abject expressions: " I, a most woful prisoner, am ready to submit to death when it shall please God and your Majesty; and yet the frail flesh incites me to call to your grace for mercy and pardon of mine offences. — Written at the Tower with the heavy heart and trembling hand of your Highness's most miserable prisoner and poor slave, Thomas Cromwell. Most gracious prince, I cry for mercy, mercy, mercy" That is the language of Fox's "valiant soldier." Fox meant valiant, not in the field or on the scaffold, but in the convent, pulling the rings from women's fingers and tearing the gold clasps from books: that was the Protestant valour of the “Reformation." Hume says that Cromwell " deserved a better fate." Never was fate more just or more appropriate. He had been the willing, the officious, the zealous, the eager agent in the execution of all the tyrannical, sacrilegious, and bloody deeds of his master, and had amongst other things been the very man who first suggested the condemning of people to death without trial. What could be more just than that he should die in the same way? Not a tear was shed at his death, which produced on the spectators an effect such as is produced when the foulest of murderers expiate their crimes on the gallows.
190. During the seven years that the tyrant himself survived this his cruel and dastardly vice-gerent, he was beset with disappointments, vexations, and torments of all sorts. He discovered at the end of a few months that his new queen had been, and still was, much such another as Anne Boleyn. He with very little ceremony sent her to the block, together with a whole posse of her relations, lovers, and cronies. He raged and foamed like a wild beast, passed laws most bloody to protect himself against lewdness and infidelity in his future wives, and got for his pains the ridicule of the nation and of all Europe. He for the last time took another wife; but this time none would face his laws but a widow, and she very narrowly escaped the fate of the rest. He for some years before he died became, from his gluttony and debaucheries, an unwieldy and disgusting mass of flesh, moved about by means of mechanical inventions. But still he retained all the ferocity and bloody-mindedness of his former days. The principal business of his life was the ordering of accusations, executions, and confiscations. When on his death-bed every one was afraid to intimate his danger to him, lest death to the intimator should be the consequence; and he died before he was well aware of his condition, leaving more than one death-warrant unsigned for want of time.
191. Thus expired, in the year 1547, in the fifty-sixth year of his age and the thirty-eighth year of his reign, the most unjust, hard-hearted, meanest "and most sanguinary tyrant that the world had ever beheld, whether Christian or heathen. That England which he found in peace, unity, plenty and happiness, he left torn by factions and schisms, her people wandering about in beggary and misery. He laid the foundations of immorality, dishonesty and pauperism, all which produced an abundant harvest in the reigns of his unhappy, barren, mischievous and miserable children, with whom, at the end of a few years, his house and his name were extinguished for ever. How he disposed of the plunder of the Church and the poor; how his successors completed that work of confiscation which he had carried on so long ; how the nation sunk in point of character and of wealth ; how pauperism first arose in England ; and how were sown the seeds of that system of which we now behold the effects in the impoverishment and degradation of the main body of the people of England and Ireland ; all these will be shown in the next chapter, and shown, I trust, in a manner which will leave in the mind of every man of sense no doubt that, of all the scourges that ever afflicted this country, none is to be put in comparison with the Protestant Reformation.
192. Having shown that the thing impudently called the “Reformation” was begun in hypocrisy and perfidy, and cherished and fed by plunder, devastation, and by rivers of innocent English and Irish blood, I intended to show in the present chapter how the main body of the people were by these doings impoverished and degraded up to this time; that is to say, I intended to trace the impoverishment and degradation down to the end of the reign of the tyrant, Henry VIII. But upon reviewing my matter I think it best first to go through the whole of my account of the plunderings, persecutings and murderings of the "Reformation" peopl ; and when we have seen all the robberies and barbarities that they committed under the hypocritical pretence of religious zeal, or rather, when we have seen such of those robberies and barbarities as we can find room for, then I shall conclude with showing how enormously the nation lost by the change, and how that change made the main part of the people poor and wretched and degraded. By pursuing this plan I shall in one concluding chapter give, or at least endeavour to give, a clear and satisfactory history of this impoverishment. I shall take the present Protestant labourer and show him how his Catholic forefathers lived and if cold potatoes and water, if this poorer than pig-diet, have not quite taken away all the natural qualities of English blood, I shall make him execrate the plunderers and hypocrites by whom was produced that change which has finally led to his present misery and to nine-tenths of that mass of corruption and crime, public and private, which now threatens to uproot society itself.
193. In pursuance of this plan, and in conformity with my promise to conclude my little work in ten chapters, I shall distribute my matter thus: — in chapter VII. (the present) the deeds and events of the reign of Edward VI. In chapter VIII., those of the reign of Queen Mary. In chapter IX., those of the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and in chapter X., the facts and arguments to establish my main point, namely, that the thing impudently called the “Reformation” impoverished and degraded the main body of the people. In the course of the first three of these chapters I shall not touch, except incidentally, upon the impoverishing and degrading effects of the change, but shall reserve these for the last chapters, when, having witnessed the horrid means, we will take an undivided view of the consequences, tracing those consequences down to the present day.
194. One of Henry's last acts was a will by which he made his infant son his immediate successor, with remainder, in case he died without issue, to his daughter Mary first, and then in default of issue again, to his daughter Elizabeth, though, observe, both the daughters had been declared illegitimate by Act of Parliament, and though the latter was born of Anne Boleyn while the king's first wife, the mother of Mary, was alive. Parliament had given the king the right to determine the succession by will.
195. To carry this will into execution, and to govern the kingdom until Edward, who was then ten years of age, should be eighteen years of age, there were sixteen executors appointed, amongst whom was Seymour, Earl of Hertford, and the "honest Cranmer." These sixteen worthies began by taking, in the most solemn manner, an oath to stand to and maintain the last will of their master. Their second act was to break that oath by making Hertford, who was a brother of Jane Seymour, the King's mother, "protector," though the will gave equal powers to all the executors. Their next step was to give new peerages to some of themselves. The fourth, to award to the new peers grants of the public money. The fifth was to lay aside at the coronation the ancient English custom of asking the people if they were willing to have and obey the King. The sixth was "to attend at a solemn high mass.” And the seventh was to begin a series of acts for the total subversion of all that remained of the Catholic religion in England, and for the effecting of all that Old Harry had left uneffected in the way of plunder.
196. The monasteries were gone; the cream had been taken off; but there remained the skimmed milk of church altars, chantries and guilds. Old Harry would doubtless, if he had lived much longer, have plundered these; but he had not done it, and he could not do it without openly becoming Protestant, which, for the reasons stated in paragraph 101, he would not do. But Hertford and his fifteen brother worthies had in their way no such obstacle as the ruffian king had had. The church altars, the chantries and the guilds contained something valuable, and they longed to be at it. The power of the Pope was gotten rid of, the country had been sacked, the poor had been despoiled; but still there were some pickings left. The piety of ages had made every church, however small, contain some gold and silver appertaining to the altar. The altars in the parish churches, and generally in the cathedrals, had been left as yet untouched; for though the wife-killer had abjured the Pope, whose power he had taken to himself, he still professed to be of the Catholic faith, and he maintained the mass and the sacraments and creeds with fire and faggot. Therefore he had left the church altars unplundered. But they contained gold, silver, and other valuables, and the worthies saw these with longing eyes and itching fingers.
197. To seize them, however, there required a pretext, and what pretext could there be short of declaring at once that the Catholic religion was false and wicked, and, of course, that there ought to be no altars, and, of course, no gold and silver things appertaining to them! The sixteen worthies, with Hertford at their head and with Cranmer amongst them, had had the King crowned as a Catholic, he as well as they had taken the oaths as Catholics, they had sworn to uphold that religion, they had taken him to a high mass after his coronation:' but the altars had good things about them there was plunder remaining, and to get at this remaining plunder the Catholic religion must be wholly put down. There were doubtless some fanatics, some who imagined that the religion of nine hundred years' standing ought not to be changed, some who had not plunder and plunder only in view; but it is impossible for any man of common sense, of unperverted mind, to look at the history of this transaction, at this open avowal of Protestantism, at this change from the religion of England to that of a part of Germany, without being convinced that the principal authors of it had plunder and plunder only in view.
198. The old tyrant died in 1547, and by the end of 1549 Cranmer, who had tied so many Protestants to the stake for not being Catholics, had pretty nearly completed a system of Protestant worship. He first prepared a book of homilies and a catechism, in order to pave the way. Next came a law to allow the clergy to have wives, and then, when all things had been prepared, came the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments .Gardiner, who was Bishop of Winchester, reproached Cranmer with his duplicity, reminded him of the zeal with which he had upheld the Catholic worship under the late king, and would have made him hang himself or cut his throat if he had had the slightest remains of shame in him.
199. This new system did not, however, go far enough for the fanatics, and there instantly appeared arrayed against it whole tribes of new lights on the Continent; so that Cranmer, cunning as he was, soon found that he had undertaken no easy matter. The proclamations put forth upon this occasion were disgustingly ridiculous, coming as they did in the name of a king only ten years of age, and expressed in words so solemnly pompous and full of arrogance. However, the chief object was the plunder, and to get at this nothing was spared. There were other things to attract the grasp, but it will be unnecessary to dwell very particularly on anything but the altars and the churches. This was the real " reformation reign," for it was a reign of robbery and hypocrisy without anything to be compared with them, — anything in any country or in any age. Religion, conscience, was always the pretext; but in one way or another robbery, plunder, was always the end. The people, once so united and so happy, became divided into innumerable sects, no man knowing hardly what to believe, and, indeed, no one knowing what it was lawful for him to say, for it soon became impossible for the common people to know what was heresy and what was not heresy.
200. That prince of hypocrites, Cranmer, who, during the reign of Henry had condemned people to the flames for not believing in transubstantiation, was now ready to condemn them for believing in it. We have seen that Luther was the beginner of the work of "reformation," but he was soon followed by further reformers on the Continent. These had made many attempts to propagate their doctrines in England, but old Henry had kept them down. Now, however, when the churches were to be robbed of what remained in them, and when, to have pretext for that robbery, it was necessary to make a complete change in the form of worship, these sectarians all flocked to England, which became one great scene of religious disputation. Some were for the Common Prayer-Book, others proposed alterations in it, others were for abolishing it altogether; and there now began that division, that multiplicity of hostile opinions, which has continued to the present day. Cranmer employed a part of the resources of the country to feed and fatten those of these religious, or rather impious, adventurers who sided with him and who chose the best market for their doctrines. England was overrun by these foreign traders in religion, and this nation, so jealous of foreign influence, was now compelled to bend its haughty neck, not only to foreigners but to foreigners of the most base and infamous character and description. Cranmer could not find Englishmen sufficiently supple to be his tools in executing the work that he had in hand. The Protector, Hertford, whom we must now call Somerset (the child-king having made him Duke of Somerset), was the greatest of all “reformers” that had yet appeared in the world, and, as we shall soon see, the greatest and most audacious of all the plunderers that this infamous reformation has produced, save and except Henry himself. The total abolition of the Catholic worship was necessary to his projects of plunder, and therefore he was a great encourager of these greedy and villainous foreigners.
201. The consequences to the morals of the people were such as were naturally to be expected. All historians agree that vice of all sorts and crimes of every kind were never so great and so numerous before. This was confessed by the teachers themselves, and yet the Protestants have extolled this reign as the reign of conscience and religion! It was so manifest that the change was a bad one, that men could not have proceeded in it from error. Its mischiefs were all manifest before the death of the tyrant; that death afforded an opportunity for returning into the right path, but there was plunder remaining, and the plunderers went on. The “Reformation” was not the work of virtue, of fanaticism, of error, of ambition, but of a love of plunder. This was its great animating principle; in this it began, and in this it proceeded till there was nothing left for it to work on.
202. Henry had, in certain cases, enabled his minions to rob the bishoprics, but now there was a grand sweep at them. The Protector took the lead, and his example was followed by others. They took so much from one, so much from another, and some they wholly suppressed, as that of Westminster, and took their estates to themselves. There were many chantries (private property to all intents and purposes), free chapels (also private property), almshouses, hospitals, guilds or fraternities, the property of which was as much private property as the funds of any plunder. And yet there are men who pretend that what is now possessed by the Established Church is of so sacred
a nature as not to be touched by Act of Parliament! This was the reign in which this our present Established Church was founded, for though the fabric was overset by Mary it was raised again by Elizabeth. Now it was that it was made. It was made, and the new worship along with it, by Acts of Parliament. It had its very birth in division, disunion, discord, and its life has been worthy of its birth. The property it possesses was taken nominally from the Catholic Church, but in reality from that Church, and also from the widow, the orphan, the indigent and the stranger. The pretext for making it was that it would cause a union of sentiment amongst the people, that it would compose all dissensions. The truth, the obvious truth, that there could be but one true religion, was acknowledged and loudly proclaimed, and it was not to be denied that there were already twenty, the teachers of every one of which declared that all the others were false, and, of course, that they were, at the very least, no better than no religion at all. Indeed, this is the language of common sense, though it is now so fashionable to disclaim the doctrine of exclusive salvation.
I ask the Unitarian parson or prater, for instance, why he takes upon him that office; why he does not go and follow some trade, or why he does not work in the fields. His answer is that he is more usefully employed in teaching. If I ask of what use his teaching is, he tells me, he must tell me, that his teaching is necessary to the salvation of souls. Well, say I, but why not leave that business to the Established Church, to which the people all pay tithes? Oh no, says he, I cannot do that, because the Church does not teach the true religion. Well, say I, but true or false, if it serve for salvation, what signifies it? Here I have him penned up in a corner. He is compelled to confess that he is a fellow wanting to lead an easy life by pandering to the passions or whims of conceited persons, or to insist that his sort of belief and teaching are absolutely necessary to salvation; as he will not confess the former he is obliged to insist on the latter, and here, after all his railing against the intolerance of the Catholics, he maintains the doctrine of exclusive salvation.
203. Two true religions, two true creeds, differing from each other, contradicting each other, present us with an impossibility; what then are we to think of twenty or forty creeds, each differing from all the rest? If deism or atheism be something not only wicked in itself, but so mischievous in its effects as to call — in case of the public profession of it — for imprisonment for years and years, if this be the case, what are we to think of laws, the same laws too which inflict that cruel punishment, tolerating and encouraging a multiplicity of creeds, all but one of which must be false? A code of laws acknowledging and tolerating but one religion is consistent in punishing the deist and the atheist, but if it acknowledge or tolerate more than one it acknowledges or tolerates one false one, and let divines say whether a false religion is not as bad as deism or atheism? Besides, is it just to punish the deist or the atheist for not believing in the Christian religion at all, when he sees the law tolerate so many religions, all but one of which must be false? What is the natural effect of men seeing constantly before their eyes a score or two of different sects, all calling themselves Christians, all tolerated by the law, and each openly declaring that all the rest are false? The natural, the necessary effect is, that many men will believe that none of them have truth on their side, and of course that the thing is false altogether, and invented solely for the benefit of those who teach it and who dispute about it.
204. The law should acknowledge and tolerate but one religion, or it should know nothing at all about the matter. The Catholic code was consistent. It said that there was but one true religion, and it punished as offenders those who dared openly to profess any opinion contrary to that religion. Whether that were the true religion or not we have not now to inquire; but while its long continuance —and in so many nations too — was a strong presumptive proof of its good moral effects upon the people, the disagreement amongst the Protestants was and is a presumptive proof not less strong of its truth. If, as I observed upon a former occasion, there be forty persons who — and whose fathers for countless generations — have up to this day entertained a certain belief, and if thirty-nine of these say at last that this belief is erroneous, we may naturally enough suppose, or at least we may think it possible, that the truth so long hidden is, though late, come to light. But if the thirty-nine begin, aye, and instantly begin, to entertain, instead of the one old belief, thirty-nine new beliefs, each differing from all the other thirty-eight, must we not in common justice decide that the old belief must have been the true one? What! shall we hear these thirty-nine protestors against the ancient faith each protesting against all the other thirty-eight, and still believe that their joint protest was just? Thirty-eight of them must now be in error; this must be: and are we still to believe in the correctness of their former decision, and that, too, relating to the same identical matter? If in a trial relating to the dimensions of a piece of land, which had been proved to have always been, time without mind, taken for twenty acres, there were one surveyor to swear that it contained twenty acres, and each of thirty-nine other surveyors to swear each of the other number of acres between one and forty, what judge and jury would hesitate a moment in crediting him who swore to the twenty, and in wholly rejecting the testimony of all the rest?
205. Thus the argument would stand on the supposition that thirty-nine parts out of forty of all Christendom had protest; but there were not, and there are not even unto this day, two parts out of fifty. So that here we have thirty-nine persons breaking off from about two thousand, protesting against the faith which the whole, and their fathers, have held; we have each of these thirty-nine instantly protesting that all the other thirty-eight have protested upon false grounds; and yet we are to believe that their joint protest against the faith of the two thousand, who are backed by all antiquity, was wise and just ! Is this the way in which we decide in other cases? Did honest men, and men not blinded by passion or by some base motive, ever decide thus before? Besides, if the Catholic faith were so false as it is by some pretended to be, how comes it not to have been extirpated before now? When, indeed, the Pope had very great power, when even kings were compelled to bend to him, it might be said, and pretty fairly said, that no one dared use the weapons of reason against the Catholic faith. But we have seen the Pope is prisoner in a foreign land; we have seen him without scarcely food and raiment; and we have seen the press of more than half the world at liberty to treat him and his faith as it pleased to treat them. But have we not seen the Protestant sects at work for three hundred years to destroy the Catholic faith? Do we not see, at the end of those three hundred years, that that faith is still the reigning faith of Christendom? Nay, do we not see that it is gaining ground at this very moment, even in this kingdom itself, where a Protestant hierarchy receives eight millions sterling a year, and where Catholics were rigidly excluded from all honour and power and, in some cases, from all political and civil rights under a constitution founded by their Catholic ancestors? Can it be then that this faith is false? Can it be that this worship is idolatrous? Can it be that it was necessary to abolish them in England as far as law could do it? Can it be that it was for our good, our honour, to sack our country, to violate all the rights of property, to deluge the country with blood, in order to change our religion?
206. But in returning now to the works of the plunderers, we ought to remark that, in discussions of this sort, it is a common but a very great error to keep our eyes so exclusively fixed on mere matters of religion. The Catholic Church included in it a great deal more than the business of teaching religion and of practising worship and administering sacraments. It had a great deal to do with the temporal concerns of the people. It provided, and amply provided, for all the wants of the poor and distressed. It received back, in many instances, what the miser and extortioner had taken unfairly, and applied it to works of beneficence. It contained a great body of land proprietors whose revenues were distributed in various ways amongst the people at large, upon terms always singularly advantageous to the latter. It was a great and powerful estate, independent both of the aristocracy and the crown, and naturally siding with the people. But above all things, it was a provider for the poor and a keeper of hospitality. By its charity and by its benevolence towards its tenants and dependents, it mitigated the rigour of proprietorship, and held society together by the ties of religion rather than by the trammels and terrors of the law. It was the great cause of that description of tenants called life-holders, who formed a most important link in the chain of society, coming after the proprietors in fee and before the tenant at will, participating, in some degree, of the proprietorship of the estate, and yet, not wholly without dependence on the proprietor." This race of persons, formerly so numerous in England, has by degrees become almost wholly extinct, their place having been supplied by a comparatively few rack-renters and by swarms of miserable paupers. The Catholic Church held the lending of money for interest, or gain, to be directly in the face of the Gospel. It considered all such gain as usurious and, of course, criminal. It taught the making of loans without interest; and thus it prevented the greedy-minded from amassing wealth in that way in which wealth is most easily amassed. Usury amongst Christians was wholly unknown, until the wife-killing tyrant had laid his hands on the property of the Church and the poor. The principles of the Catholic Church all partook of generosity; it was their great characteristic, as selfishness is the characteristic of that Church which was established in its stead.
207. The plunder which remained after the seizure of the monasteries was comparatively small; but still, the very leavings of the old tyranny, the mere gleanings of the harvest of plunder, were something; and these were not suffered to remain. The plunder of the churches, parochial as well as collegiate, was preceded by all sorts of antics played in those churches. Calvin had got an influence opposed to that of Cranmer; so that there was almost open war amongst these Protestants, which party should have the teaching of the people. After due preparation in this way, the robbery was set about in due form. Every church altar had, as I have before observed, more or less of gold and silver. A part consisted of images, a part of censers, candlesticks, and other things used in the celebration of the mass. The mass was, therefore, abolished, and there was no longer to be an altar, but a table in its stead. The fanatical part of the reformers amused themselves with quarrelling about the part of the church where the table was to stand, about the shape of it, and whether the head of it was to be placed to the north, the east, the west, or the south, and whether the people were to stand, kneel, or sit at it! The plunderers, however, thought about other things: they thought about the value of the images, censers, and the like.
208. To reconcile the people to these innovations the plunderers had a Bible contrived for the purpose, which Bible was a perversion of the original text wherever it was found to be necessary. Of all the acts of this hypocritical and plundering reign this was, perhaps, the basest. In it we see the true character of the heroes of the " Protestant Reformation"; and the poor and miserable labourers of England, who now live upon potatoes and water, feel the consequences of the deeds of the infamous times of which I am speaking. Every preparation being made the robbery began, and a general plunder of churches took place by royal and parliamentary authority! The robbers took away everything valuable, even down to the vestments of the priests. Such mean rapacity never was heard of before, and for the honour of human nature let us hope that it will never be heard of again. It seems that England was really become a den of thieves, and of thieves, too, of the lowest and most despicable character.
209. The Protector, Somerset, did not forget himself. Having plundered four or five of the bishoprics he needed a palace in London. For the purpose of building this palace, which was erected in the Strand, London, and which was called Somerset House," as the place is called to this day, he took from three bishops their town houses. He pulled these down, together with a parish church, in order to get a suitable spot for the erection. The materials of these demolished buildings being insufficient for his purpose, he pulled down a part of the buildings appertaining to the then cathedral of Saint Paul; the church of Saint John, near Smithfield; Barking chapel, near the Tower; the college church of Saint Martin-le-Grand; St. Ewen's church, Newgate; and the parish church of Saint Nicholas. He, besides these, ordered the pulling down of the parish church of Saint Margaret, Westminster; but, says Dr. Heylyn, “the workmen had no sooner advanced their scaffolds when the parishioners gathered together in great multitudes with bows and arrows and staves and clubs, which so terrified the workmen that they ran away in great amazement, and never could be brought again upon that employment." Thus arose Somerset House, the present grand seat of the power of fiscal grasping. It was first erected literally with the ruins of churches, and it now serves, under its old name, as the place from which issue the mandates to us to give up the fruit of our earnings to pay the interest of a debt which is one of the evident and great consequences of the " Protestant Reformation," without which that debt never could have existed.
210. I am, in the last chapter, to give an account of the impoverishment and degradation that these and former Protestant proceedings produced amongst the people at large; but I must here notice that the people heartily detested these Protestant tyrants and their acts. General discontent prevailed, and this, in some cases, broke out into open insurrection. It is curious enough to observe the excuses that Hume, in giving an account of these times, attempts to make for the plunderers and their "reformation." It was his constant aim to blacken the Catholic institutions, and particularly the character and conduct of the Catholic clergy. Yet he could not pass over these discontents and risings of the people; and, as there must have been a cause for these, he is under the necessity of ascribing them to the badness of the change, or to find out some other cause. He therefore goes to work in a very elaborate manner to make his readers believe that the people were in error as to the tendency of the change. He says that " scarce any institution can be imagined less favourable, in the main, to the interests of mankind," than that of the Catholic; yet, says he, "as it was followed by many good effects, which had ceased with the suppression of the monasteries, that suppression was very much regretted by the people." He then proceeds to describe the many benefits of the monastic institutions; says that the monks, always residing on their estates, caused a diffusion of good constantly around them; that, "not having equal motives to avarice with other men, they were the best and most indulgent landlords"; that, when the church lands became private property, the rents were raised, the money spent at a distance from the estates, and the tenants exposed to the rapacity of stewards; that whole estates were laid waste; that the tenants were expelled, and that even the cottagers were deprived of the commons on which they formerly fed their cattle; that a great decay of the people, as well as a diminution of former plenty, was remarked in the kingdom; that at the same time the coin had been debased by Henry, and was now further debased; that the good coin was hoarded or exported; that the common people were thus robbed of part of their wages; that "complaints were heard in every part of the kingdom." (William Cobbett, A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, written between 1824 and 1827 and published by Benziger Brothers, pp. 137-167.)
William Cobbett On the Just Punishment of Heretics by Queen Mary
247. As a preliminary to the punishment of heretics, there was an Act of Parliament passed in December, 1554 (a year and a half after the Queen came to the throne), to restore the ancient statutes relative to heresy. These statutes were first passed against the Lollards in the reigns of Richard II. and Henry IV., and they provided that heretics who were obstinate should be burnt. These statutes were altered in the reign of Henry VIII. in order that he might get the property of heretics, and in that of Edward they were repealed; not out of mercy, however, but because heresy was, according to those statutes, to promulgate opinions contrary to the Catholic faith, and this did, of course, not suit the state of things under the new Church "as by law established." Therefore it was then held that heresy was punishable by common law, and that, in case of obstinacy, heretics might be burnt; and accordingly many were punished and some burnt in that reign by process at common law; and these were, too, Protestants dissenting from Cranmer’s Church, who himself condemned them to the flames. Now, however, the Catholic religion being again the religion of the country, it was thought necessary to return to ancient statutes, which accordingly were re-enacted. That which had been the law during seven reigns, comprising nearly two centuries, and some of which reigns had been amongst the most glorious and most happy that England had ever known, one of the kings having won the title of King of France, and another of them having actually been crowned at Paris; that which had been the law for so long a period was now the law again, so that here was nothing new at any rate. And observe, though these statutes were again repealed when Elizabeth's policy induced her to be a Protestant, she enacted others to supply their place, and that both she and her successor, Tames I., burnt heretics; though they had, as we shall see, a much more expeditious and less noisy way of putting out of the world those who still had the constancy to adhere to the religion of their fathers.
248. The laws being passed were not likely to remain a dead letter. They were put in execution chiefly in consequence of condemnations in the spiritual court by Bonner, Bishop of London. The punishment was inflicted in the usual manner, dragging to the place of execution and then burning to death, the sufferer being tied to a stake in the midst of a pile of faggots, which, when set on fire, consumed him. Bishop Gardiner, the Chancellor, has been by Protestant writers charged with being the adviser of this measure. I can find no ground for this charge, while all agree that Pole, who was now become Archbishop of Canterbury in the place of Cranmer, disapproved of it. It is also undeniable that a Spanish friar, the confessor of Philip, preaching before the Queen, expressed his disapprobation of it. Now, as the Queen was much more likely to be influenced, if at all, by Pole, and especially by Philip, than by Gardiner, the fair presumption is that it was her own measure. And as to Bonner, on whom so much blame has been thrown on this account, he had indeed been most cruelly used by Cranmer and his Protestants, but there was the council continually accusing all the bishops (and he more than any of the rest) of being too slow in the performance of this part of their duty. Indeed, it is manifest that in this respect the council spoke the almost then universal sentiment; for though the French ceased not to hatch rebellions against the Queen, none of the grounds of the rebels ever were that she punished heretics. Their complaints related almost solely to the connection with Spain, and never to the "flames of Smithfield," though we of later times have been made to believe that nothing else was thought of; but the fact is, the persons put to death were chiefly of very infamous character, many of them foreigners, almost the whole of them residing in London and called in derision by the people at large the "London Gospellers." Doubtless, out of two hundred and seventy-seven persons (the number stated by Hume on authority of Fox) who were thus punished, some may have been real martyrs to their opinions, and have been sincere and virtuous persons, but in this number of two hundred and seventy-seven many were convicted felons, some clearly traitors, as Ridley and Cranmer. These must be taken from the number ; and we may surely take such as were alive when Fox first published his book, and who expressly begged to decline the honour of being enrolled amongst its " Martyrs." As a proof of Fox's total disregard of truth, there was in the next reign a Protestant parson, as Anthony Wood (a Protestant) tells us, who in a sermon related, on authority of Fox, that a Catholic of the name of Grimwood had been, as Fox said, a great enemy of the Gospellers, had been " punished by a judgment of God," and that "his bowels fell out of his body." Grimwood was not only alive at the time when the sermon was preached, but happened to be present in the church to hear it, and he brought an action of defamation against the preacher! Another instance of Fox's falseness relates to the death of Bishop Gardiner. Fox and Burnet, and other vile calumniators of the acts and actors in Queen Mary's reign, say that Gardiner, on the day of the execution of Latimer and Ridley, kept dinner waiting till the news of their suffering should arrive, and that the Duke of Norfolk, who was to dine with him, expressed great chagrin at the delay; that when the news came, "transported with joy" they sat down to table, where Gardiner was suddenly seized with the disury, and died in horrible torments in a fortnight afterwards. Now Latimer and Ridley were put to death on the 16th of October, and Collier, in his Ecclesiastical History, p. 386, states that Gardiner opened the Parliament on the 21st of October, that he attended in Parliament twice afterwards, that he died on the 12th of November of the gout, and not of disury, and that as to the Duke of Norfolk, he had been dead a year when this event took place! What a hypocrite, then, must that man be who pretends to believe in this Fox! Yet this infamous book has, by the arts of the plunderers and their descendants, been circulated to a boundless extent amongst the people of England, who have been taught to look upon all the thieves, felons and traitors whom Fox calls " Martyrs," as sufferers resembling St. Stephen, St. Peter and St. Paul!
249. The real truth about these Martyrs" is that they were generally a set of most wicked wretches, who sought to destroy the Queen and her government, and, under the pretence of conscience and superior piety, to obtain the means of again preying upon the people. No mild means could reclaim them; those means had been tried: the Queen had to employ vigorous means, or to suffer her people to continue to be torn by the religious factions, created not by her but by her two immediate predecessors, who had been aided and abetted by many of those who now were punished, and who were worthy of ten thousand deaths each if ten thousand deaths could have been endured. They were, without a single exception, apostates, perjurers, or plunderers ; and the greater part of them had also been guilty of flagrant high treason against Mary herself, who had spared their lives, but whose lenity they had requited by every effort within their power to overset her authority and her government. To make particular mention of all the ruffians that perished upon this occasion would be a task as irksome as it would be useless; but there were amongst them three of Cramer's bishops and himself! For now justice at last overtook this most mischievous of all villains, who had justly to go to the same stake that he had unjustly caused so many others to be tied to; the three others were Hooper, Latimer and Ridley, each of whom was, indeed, inferior in villainy to Cranmer, but to few other men that have ever existed.
250. Hooper was a monk; he broke his vow of celibacy and married a Flandrican; he, being the ready tool of the Protector Somerset, whom he greatly aided in his plunder of the churches, got two bishoprics, though he himself had written against pluralities. He was a co-operator in all the monstrous cruelties inflicted on the people during the reign of Edward, and was particularly active in recommending the use of German troops to bend the necks of the English to the Protestant yoke. Latimer began his career, not only as a Catholic priest, but as a most furious assailant of the Reformation religion. By this he obtained from Henry VIII. the bishopric of Worcester. He next changed his opinions, but he did not give up his Catholic bishopric! Being suspected, he made abjuration of Protestantism; he thus kept his bishopric for twenty years while he inwardly reprobated the principles of the Church, and which bishopric he held in virtue of an oath to oppose to the utmost of his power all dissenters from the Catholic Church. In the reigns of Henry and Edward he sent to the stake Catholics and Protestants for holding opinions which he himself had before held openly, or that he held secretly at the time of his so sending them. Lastly, he was a chief tool in the hands of the tyrannical Protector Somerset in that black and unnatural act of bringing his brother, Lord Thomas Somerset, to the block. Ridley had been a Catholic bishop in the reign of Henry VIII., when he sent to the stake Catholics who denied the king's supremacy and Protestants who denied transubstantiation. In Edward's reign he was a Protestant bishop, and denied transubstantiation himself. He in Edward's reign got the bishopric of London by a most roguish agreement to transfer the greater part of its possessions to the rapacious ministers and courtiers of that day. Lastly, he was guilty of high treason against the Queen, in openly (as we have seen in paragraph 220) and from the pulpit exhorting the people to stand by the usurper, Lady Jane, and thus endeavouring to produce civil war and the death of his sovereign, in order that he might by treason be enabled to keep that bishopric which he had obtained by simony including perjury.
251. A pretty trio of Protestant "saints;" quite worthy, however, of Martin Luther, who says in his own works that it was by the arguments of the devil (who, he says, frequently ate, drank and slept with him) that he was induced to turn Protestant; three worthy followers of that Luther who is by his disciple Melancthon called "a brutal man, void of piety and humanity, one more a Jew than a Christian; “three followers altogether worthy of this great founder of that Protestantism which has split the world into contending sects: but black as these are, they bleach the moment Cranmer appears in his true colours. But alas where is the pen or tongue to give us those colours? Of the sixty-five years that he lived, and of the thirty-five years of his manhood, twenty-nine years were spent in the commission of a series of acts which, for wickedness in their nature and for mischief in their consequences, are absolutely without anything approaching to a parallel in the annals of human infamy. Being a fellow of a college at Cambridge, and having, of course, made an engagement (as the fellows do to this day) not to marry while he was a fellow, he married secretly and still enjoyed his fellowship. While a married man he became a priest and took the oath of celibacy, and going to Germany he married another wife, the daughter of a Protestant "saint," though his oath bound him to have no wife at all. He, as archbishop, enforced the law of celibacy, while he himself secretly kept his German wife in the palace at Canterbury having, as we have seen in paragraph 104, imported her in a chest. He, as ecclesiastical judge, divorced Henry VIII. from three wives, the grounds of his decision in two of the cases being directly the contrary of those which he himself had laid down when he declared the marriages to be valid; and in the case of Anne Boleyn he, as ecclesiastical judge, pronounced that Anne had never been the king's wife; while as a member of the House of Peers he voted for her death, as having been an adulteress and thereby guilty of treason to her husband. As archbishop under Henry (which office he entered upon with a premeditated false oath on his lips) he sent men and women to the stake because they were not Catholics, and he sent Catholics to the stake because they would not acknowledge the king's supremacy and thereby perjure themselves as he had so often done. Become openly a Protestant in Edward's reign, and openly professing those very principles for the professing of which he had burnt others, he now punished his fellow Protestants because their grounds for protesting were different from his. As executor of the will of his old master, Henry, which gave the crown (after Edward) to his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth, he conspired with others to rob those two daughters of their right, and to give the crown to Lady Jane, that queen of nine days, whom he with others ordered to be proclaimed. Confined, notwithstanding his many monstrous crimes, merely to the palace at Lambeth, he, in requital of the Queen's lenity, plotted with traitors in the pay of France to overset her government. Brought at last to trial and to condemnation as a heretic, he professed himself ready to recant. He was respited for six weeks, during which time he signed six different forms of recantation, each more ample than the former. He declared that the Protestant religion was false ; that the Catholic religion was the only true one; that he now believed in all the doctrines of the Catholic Church; that he had been a horrid blasphemer against the Sacrament; that he was unworthy of forgiveness; that he prayed the people, the Queen and the Pope to have pity on and to pray for his wretched soul; and that he had made and signed this declaration without fear and without hope of favour, and for the discharge of his conscience, and as a warning to others. It was a question in the Queen's Council whether he should be pardoned, as other recanters had been; but it was resolved that his crimes were so enormous that it would be unjust to let him escape. Brought, therefore, to the public reading of his recantation on his way to the stake, seeing the pile ready, now finding that he must die, and carrying in his breast all his malignity undiminished, he recanted his recantation, thrust into the fire the hand that had signed it, and thus expired, protesting against that very religion in which, only nine hours before, he had called God to witness that he firmly believed."
252. And Mary is to be called the "Bloody" because she put to death monsters of iniquity like this! It is surely time to do justice to the memory of this calumniated queen; and not to do it by halves, I must, contrary to my intention, employ part of the next chapter in giving the remainder of her history. (William Cobbett, A History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, written between 1824 and 1827 and published by Benziger Brothers, pp. 203-211.)